Jordanian Baker Atyani and his two Filipino film crew, all three of whom arrived on Jolo Island by plane on Monday (June 11) to shoot a television documentary for Al Arabiya, failed to return to their hotel on Jolo on Tuesday (June 12).
COMMENT: There has been no confirmation that the three men were kidnapped, although abduction cannot be ruled out.
Unfortunately, the three men declined an offer of a security detail by the mayor of Jolo. Had they accepted such an offer, their assignment might well have already been completed without incident.
Given their disappearance, local authorities have searched the hotel rooms of the film crew and confirmed with the hotel manager that the men did not return to their hotel on Tuesday.
As I have emphasized in the past, Jolo is a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic militant movement that has been blamed for most of the country's worst terrorist attacks as well as kidnappings of foreigners.
For those of our readers who are interested in developments in the Philippines, please see my posting earlier today (June 15), whereby I make reference to the updated US Department of State travel warning for the southern Philippines, yet stressed that the Department's warning should have been more strongly worded and discouraged ALL travel to the south by US citizens.
Sadly, Americans and other foreigners who have been kidnapped in the south are too numerous to list.
This posting will be updated as new information becomes available.