10/27/2009, 00.00
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Fr Sinnott is alive, first contact with captors

by Santosh Digal
The spokesman of the Diocese of Pagadian announces that the missionary is alive but that his health is deteriorating. Abductors’ identity is still unknown.
Manila (AsiaNews) – Father Sinnott “is alive but he’s getting weaker,” said Fr G. Hingone, spokesman for the bishop of Pagadian. After 17 days of silence, the first contact was made with the captors of 79-year-old Colomban Fr Michael Sinnott, abducted on 10 October in Pagadian (Mindanao) by a group of six armed men. The latter’s identity remains unknown but the authorities believe the missionary is being held in Lanao del Norte province.

“Since yesterday, there is a little progress, but negotiation is somehow starting to progress," Hingone said. “We hope that in the next three days negotiations will progress and Fr. Sinnott will be released.” So far, the kidnappers have not asked for any ransom, Fr Hingone added.

The local Church sent medicines for Fr Sinnott through an emissary, and received confirmation that Sinnott had received them. The abducted missionary suffers from heart problems. He was given four bypasses in July.

The Pagadian City government has offered a US$ 4,300 reward for information about his captors and whereabouts.

Police and military continue to blame the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the abduction, but the rebel group has denied the charges and through its spokesman, Eid Kabalu has announced its intention to cooperate with the authorities to obtain Fr Sinnott’s release.

Meanwhile in Pagadian Christians, Muslims and indigenous people organised a peace march on Saturday, calling on the captors to release the missionary immediately.

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See also
Search operations for abducted Irish priest underway in Mindanao
Pagadian: Christians and Muslims waiting for Fr Sinnott’s arrival
Mindanao: no claims Fr Sinnott’s abduction
Thousands of troops to supervise elections in Mindanao
Irish priest kidnapped in Mindanao alive


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