SOME JOURNALISTS RELEASED FROM CAPTIVITY
A German reporter and two Filipino journalists who were kidnapped by the Muslim guerrilla group Abu Sayyaf were released respectively on 27 and 30 July, reports the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Filipino camera worker Val Cuenca and researcher/writer Maan Macapagal were abducted on 24 July by the guerrilla group while covering the hostage crisis on the Southern Philippines island of Jolo. The German reporter Andreas Lorenz was captured by armed rebels on July 2 while also covering the crisis. On 23 April, Abu Sayyaf kidnapped 21 individuals from a resort on the Malaysian island of Sipadan, says CPJ. According to CPJ, the guerrilla group "is a loose association of several hundred Muslim guerrillas fighting for a separate Islamic state in the southern Philippines."
The pair of Filipino journalists were the fourth group of journalists to be kidnapped while trying to cover the hostage crisis. Lorenz was taken hostage twice by the guerrilla group. The first time, he was part of a group of ten foreign journalists that Abu Sayyaf held and ransomed for US $25,000. At present, three French journalists are still in captivity and their whereabouts remain unknown, says CPJ. According to the European Journalism Center (EJC), all foreign journalists have now been evacuated from the area. Prior to the capture of the two Filipino journalists, there was fear that the guerrillas could start to target local journalists since no foreign journalists remained in the area, says CPJ.