Philippine Militants Release Bin Laden Interviewer After 18 Months

But 16 people are still held by the Abu Sayyaf outfit, labeled "terrorists" by the U.S.

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Ben Hajan / EPA

Image made available on 11 June 2012 shows Jordanian reporter Baker Atyani (2-R) meets Governor Sakur Tan (2-L) in Jolo, Sulu island, southern Philippines.

The Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines has released senior Jordanian TV journalist Baker Atyani, after keeping him captive for a year and a half.

Famed for his Osama Bin Laden interview a few months before 9/11, Atyani was kidnapped together with two Filipino crewmen in the jungles of Sulu province by the militants they had sought to feature, AP reports.

While the crewmen were released in February, the Al Arabiya News Channel correspondent remained captive until now, Philippine military commander Col. Jose Cenabre said Wednesday.

Abu Sayyaf abductions are more infrequent today than some ten years ago, following military offensives backed by the U.S., who lists the group as a terrorist organization. Currently, they hold 16 people, including two European bird watchers who were kidnapped last year.