A failed rescue bid to free a Jordanian journalist kidnapped by Islamist rebels on the Philippines has left 21 people dead.
Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani was captured by Islamist rebels from the Abu Sayyaf group last June, along with two Filipino crew members.
According to security officials on Monday, a bid to rescue Atyani by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) – another group of Muslim rebels who have now struck a peace deal with the government – left eight would-be rescuers and 13 Abu Sayyf rebels dead, but failed to rescue Atyani. MNLF fighters attacked the Abu Sayyf hostage takers on Jolo island, in the south of the country. Jolo is part of a chain of islands where they are holding other international hostages including Australian, Swiss, Japanese and Dutch citizens.
Local police chief Antonio Freyra told reporters that “we have no information on the fate of the Jordanian journalist.”
Filipino army spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said that they military was not involved in the rescue attempt, but troops were sent to ensure the safety of local residents, who were evacuated from the area.