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Philippines: Columban Missionary Kidnapped
Columban Missionary Fr Michael Sinnott kidnapped
Columban Father Michael Sinnott was kidnapped this Sunday evening (11 Oct.) at about 7.30 pm (local time) from outside his home in Pagadian City, Province of Zamboanga del Sur, Mindanao, as he was taking an evening stroll in the garden.
Four or five armed men burst into the garden and bundled Fr Michael into a pickup truck and drove to a local beach. The vehicle was abandoned and burnt. Fr Michael was taken away in a speed boat.
Irish priest kidnapped in Philippines
MARY FITZGERALD Foreign Affairs Correspondent
AN OCTOGENARIAN Irish priest was kidnapped by a gang of armed men in the restive southern Philippines yesterday.
Michael Sinnott (80), a Columban Father originally from Barntown in Co Wexford, was taken away on a speed boat after six gunmen entered the Columban House in Pagadian city in the province of Zamboanga del Sur yesterday evening, and dragged him away, according to reports quoting local police. The truck used to transport him to the harbour was later found abandoned and burned near Columban House.
No group has claimed responsibility, but suspicion may fall on Muslim separatists who have been fighting for their own homeland in the southern Philippines for decades and have in the past kidnapped foreigners, including priests.
In a statement posted on the website of the Navan-based Columban Missionaries, the order said Fr Sinnott was taking an evening stroll in his garden when he was taken by the gunmen.
Fr Sinnott was ordained in 1954 and was assigned to Mindanao in the southern Philippines in 1957 following his studies in Rome.
He served in Mindanao until 1966 before being assigned to the theology staff in Dalgan Park, Navan.
He returned to the Philippines in 1976 where he has served in a variety of pastoral and administrative roles. Since 1998 he has been involved with a school for children with special needs.