Philippine authorities say a veteran Middle Eastern TV reporter and two Filipino crew are missing on a southern island where Muslim militants are active.
Police say Baker Atyani, Al-Arabiya's TV bureau chief for Southeast Asia, has failed to contact authorities since Tuesday, when he was last seen on Jolo Island while on a reporting trip.
Sulu provincial Police Chief Antonio Freyra said that the three men checked out of their Jolo hostel and were picked up by a minivan.
They failed to show up for Philippine Independence Day rites later that day despite telling the governor and the mayor they would cover the event.
A Filipino TV reporter planning to interview leaders of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group in 2008 was held for ransom on Jolo for 10 days.
The militants on Jolo are holding two Europeans and a Japanese. There are conflicting reports whether an Indian hostage has died in captivity.
Atyani, a 43-year-old Jordanian based in Jakarta, Indonesia, was working for the Arabic satellite channel Middle East Broadcasting Corp. in June 2001 when he met bin Laden and his aides in Afghanistan and said they told him that the coming weeks would hold "important surprises that will target American and Israeli interests in the world."
He later moved to Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV as its Asia bureau chief.
Abu Sayyaf militants have launched more attacks in the last four years despite U.S.-backed offensives on Jolo and neighboring islands. Authorities have failed to cut off a flow of money, food and weapons to the terrorists, the Philippine military said in a recent report.
The Abu Sayyaf is a more radical offshoot of a Muslim rebellion that has been raging in the predominantly Catholic nation's south for decades. The violence is fueled by abject poverty, corruption and proliferation of weapons.