Kidnapped Cleric

Filipino army negotiating with kidnappers of Italian priest

.- A top official of the Filipino military, Marine General Mohammad Ben Dolorfino, announced this week that military officials have been in contact with the kidnappers of Italian priest Father Giancarlo Bossi in an attempt to secure his release.

“Visual contact of Father Bossi has been made and he appears to be in good physical condition,” General Dolorfino stated.  He said former members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an Islamic separatist group, are believed to be responsible for the kidnapping.

“The situation at present is that the particular area of the kidnappers is already contained and negotiations are ongoing,” the general said.  “They are now contained in that area. Imagine two brigades and a battalion cordoning the area.  They have nowhere to run, their options are limited,” he added.

Father Bossi, 57, is the third Italian priest to be kidnapped in western Mindanao. He was kidnapped on June 10 by a dozen armed men shortly after celebrating Mass in the town of Payao.

Two days later, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the military to assist in the rescue effort.  A US spy plane also carried out reconnaissance missions over the area where the priest is being held.

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