Sunday, October 11, 2009

Irish missioner kidnapped in Southern Philippines

An undated Columban photo of Irish missioner Michael Sinnott, who was kidnapped by six gunmen Sunday, October 12, 2009 in Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur in the southern Philippines. The priest is a native of Barntown, Co Wexford. He was ordained in 1954 and following studies in Rome and assigned to the southern Philippine Mindanao Island in 1957. He served in Mindanao until 1966 and was then assigned to the theology staff in Dalgan Park, Navan in Ireland. He returned to Philippines in 1976 where he has served in a variety of pastoral and administrative roles. Since 1998 he has been involved with “The Center and School for Special Children” which he established.

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / October 11, 2009) – Gunmen kidnapped an Irish missioner late Sunday in Pagadian City in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga del Sur.

At least six gunmen seized Fr Michael Sinnott, 80, from his house at around 7.30 in the evening and dragged him to a waiting get-away vehicle and fled towards the coastal area of Pagadian City.

“Father Sinnot is good man. We don’t know why he was kidnapped. He lived almost all his life in Mindanao. He is weak and old, but active in many interfaith forum,” one of the priest's Filipino friends told the independent regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

She said the gunmen barged inside the priest’s house and seized the missioner in front of terrified Filipino companions. “They cannot do anything because the men were armed with weapons. They pleaded, but the men still took Father Michael. We are praying for his safety,” she said.

The motive of the kidnapping is still unknown and no group has claimed responsibility for it.

In June 2007, gunmen also kidnapped an Italian missioner Giancarlo Bossi, of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, in Payao town in Zamboanga del Sur province.

Bossi, then 57, was freed more than a month later after private negotiators paid a huge ransom. Bossi’s kidnappers had demanded P50 million for his safe release.

Philippine authorities said Bossi was kidnapped while celebrating mass in the village of Bulawan by brothers Akiddin and Wanning Abdusallam, both rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf.

Bossi was the third Italian priest kidnapped in southern Philippines in a decade.

Rogue MILF rebels kidnapped Fr Luciano Benedetti, 62, in Zamboanga del Norte province in 1998 and held for nearly 10 weeks until he was freed in exchange for a huge government ransom.

In 2001, renegade MILF rebels and members of the bandit group called Pentagon Gang also snatched Fr Giuseppe Pierantoni as the 51-year-old from Bologna said mass in the parish church of Dimataling town in Zamboanga del Sur.

The priest was freed after six months in captivity in exchange for an unspecified ransom, but he claimed to have escaped from his kidnappers. (Mindanao Examiner)

1 comment:

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