Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Columban missionaries pray for release of kidnapped Irish priest in Philippines

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / November 3, 2009) – Columban missionaries in the Philippines continue to pray for the safe release of a kidnapped Irish priest in Mindanao.

Father Michael Sinnott, a member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban, was taken at gunpoint by six men from his house in Pagadian City in the western Mindanao province of Zamboanga del Sur province on October 11.

Police and military authorities said the priest was brought either to Lanao del Norte in northern Mindanao or Lanao del Sur in the Muslim autonomous region in central Mindanao. The kidnappers demanded two million dollars ransom in a video released last week which showed Sinnott reading a newspaper dated October 22.

Father Pat O’Donoghue, Philippine Region Director of the Missionary Society of St. Columban, said Sinnott would insist on money being used for the poor and disadvantaged, especially those with special needs, rather than pay the kidnappers.

“Mick never put himself first and he won’t start now,” O’Donoghue, referring to Sinnott.

The crisis group handling the kidnapping crisis in Pagadian City said it is prepared to negotiate with the kidnappers, but insisted it will not pay ransom for the freedom of the hostage, who underwent heart surgery in the past.

“One of the things that they would try to do would be to make sure that Mick gets all the medication he needs. There is a willingness to maintain the contact and that is important. But the waiting continues and patience will be needed,” O’Donoghue said.

“My own hope remains that there would be a break-through quickly and that compassion would prevail and that Mick would be freed very soon. That is my hope, not an expectation.”

The Philippine and Irish governments have also rejected the ransom demand. (Mindanao Examiner)

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