Irish missionary priest freed after month of captivity

Irish missionary priest freed after month of captivity

Fr. Michael Sinnott
Fr. Michael Sinnott

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After being held hostage for just over a month, Irish missionary priest Fr. Michael Sinnott was freed on Nov 12. Despite a serious preexisting heart condition, Fr. Sinnott was reported to be in good health.

On Oct. 11, Fr. Sinnott was taken at gunpoint by six men who stormed his home in Pagadian City on the island of Midano. According to Reuters, witnesses said the elderly priest was bundled into a van and later dragged into a boat.

Combined efforts from the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities for the Government of the Philippines and the Moro-Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) helped negotiate Fr. Sinnott's release.

The MILF has not disclosed where they found Fr. Sinnott or any details about the kidnappers.

Mohager Iqbal, chairperson of the Maguindinao-based MILF peace panel did however say that members of his task force had spoken with relatives of the abductors and applied “moral pressure” but insisted that no violent tactics were used. He also stressed that no ransom was paid for Fr. Sinnott, though “hundreds of thousands of pesos were spent by the MILF in its efforts to recover Fr. Sinnott.”

Local news stations reported that Fr. Sinnott is receiving medical care at a clinic in Zamboanga City. 

Carlos Sol, head of the secretariat for the Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, has said that although Fr. Sinnott is slightly confused, he is in good condition. “I told him he looks strong,” said Sol, who went on to explain that once Fr. Sinnott has recovered, he will most likely be taken to Manila to be presented to the president of the Republic of the Philippines.

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