10/28/2009, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Philippine military and Moro Muslims together to liberate p. Sinnott

by Santosh Digal
The heads of the armed forces authorize MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) rebels to support the crisis unit set up for the release of Irish missionary who has been 18 days in the hands of kidnappers.

Manila (AsiaNews) - The Philippine army has accepted the help of the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) to secure the release of Fr Sinnott, the Irish Columban missionary kidnapped on 11 October in Pagadian (Mindanao).The announcement was made in a brief circular signed by General B. Dolorfino, commander of the armed forces of Western Mindanao. The military added that the rebels will be incorporated into a crisis unit in Zamboanga del Sur, and will join the army, police and members of the Church in the rescue operations. The decision is a consequence of the agreement between the government and rebels on the protection of civilians, signed yesterday in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

"Our forces have been sent out to the kidnappers den in the province of Lanao del Norte - said MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu - we are awaiting orders to launch the operation." Confirmation also comes from the head of the MILF, Murad Ebrahim, who said he had ordered his men to secure the release of the priest and the arrest of the kidnappers, who according to his informants are local pirates.

Meanwhile, local sources announced that the health of Fr Sinnott is critical, that he is suffering diarrhoea, malnutrition and lack of medicines. The missionary is 79 years old and suffers heart disease. Last July, he underwent a quadruple by-pass.

 

 

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