06/10/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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PIME missionary, Fr Giancarlo Bossi, abducted in Mindanao

The missionary has worked for almost 30 years on the Mindanao Island where Muslim guerrillas have been battling the army for the island’s autonomy.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Fr Giancarlo Bossi, a 57-year-old missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), was abducted this morning by armed men in the coastal village of Bulawan, near Zamboanga (Mindanao), Fr Gianni Sandalo, superior of the PIME mission in the Philippines, reported. According to police, members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a group fighting for the Mindanao’s independence from the Philippines, might be responsible.

Except for a stay in Italy in 1996-1999, Father Giancarlo has been working in Mindanao since 1980.

He was appointed to the parish of Payao near Zamboanga only two months ago.

According to preliminary evidence he was abducted as he made his way to a nearby chapel to celebrate mass.

Zamboanga police think that he was spirited away by boat but is still in the area. The coastline in the area is very jagged with many coves and hideaways.

Father Bossi is the second Italian priest kidnapped in the area. In 2001 Fr Giuseppe Pierantoni was abducted and released several months later.

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