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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.

Tags: Columban, Fr Michael Sinnott, Zchristian, Zjihad, Zphilippines, Zterror

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Replies to This Discussion

note this comment from
Father Shay Cullen and all at the Preda Foundation which was attached to the above story:
Dear Friends

Please pray and use all contacts to spread the news and we demand that no violence are used by the authorities but peaceful negotiation be conduced for his release. We are with you Father Michael in Sprit and prayer.

They are actually making a 'demand' of the authorities as to how to retrieve Fr Michael. How long do they want to peacefully negociate for I wonder? Maybe Father Shay Cullen and all at the Preda Foundation should do the negotiations themselves and only ask the government to get involved on their [government's] own terms when they tire of their own approach.

Also I wonder if that is Fr Michael's 'demand'. How can they presume to speak for him? Has Fr Michael left instructions to say that only a 'no violence' negociations be used to secure his release on the event of his kidnapping? If so, the world should know about it.
I sent the following email to Father Shay Cullen and all at the Preda Foundation
their email is

I join my prayers with yours.

I am curious to read however that you are actually making a 'demand' of the authorities as to how to retrieve Fr Michael. How long do you want to peacefully negociate for I wonder?

Maybe you should do the negotiations all by yourselves and only ask the government to get involved on their [government's] own terms when you tire of your own approach.

Also I wonder if that is Fr Michael's 'demand'. How can you presume to speak for him? Has Fr Michael left instructions to say that only a 'no violence' approach to negociations be used to secure his release on the event of his kidnapping? If so, the world should know about it.

And what if he is being tourtured? Would you still 'demand' a 'no violence' approach and talking? Would he?

Yours sincerely

Dear Friends

Just two updates on this abduction:

It has been confirmed that Father Michael Sinnott was kidnapped by members of the MILF. A few lines from the linked story:

‘Maj. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, the chief of the Western Mindanao Command, said, ‘The only thing I can [say] now is that two of them are MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) rebels based in Lanao del Sur.”’

‘Dolorfino said the military was able to validate the call through “inside sources” in the MILF’s 4th Infantry Brigade.

‘The brigade is led by Commander Jamat Latip to whom, both Dolorfino and Chief Supt. Angelo Sunglao claimed on Wednesday, Sinnott was turned over by his kidnappers.’

However Commander Jamat Latip denies involvement with the kidnapping

The other update is from

From Father Shay Cullen who writes of Fr Michael Sinnott’s commitment to all the people the Philippines, but especially the poor and the children.

Fr Shay: ‘We appeal that his captors will respect his life's dedication and commitment to the dignity and rights of the Muslim and Christian people alike. I appeal to the authorities to do nothing violent if he is located with his captors but to negotiate a peaceful release and return.’

My questions to Fr Shay and Preda about the ‘demand’ for a ‘no violence’ relationship with these abductors remain unanswered. And my prayers for Fr Michael continue.
Free at Last! Fr. Michael Sinnott Will Continue his Mission
(Fr. Shay's columns are published in The Manila Times,
in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

Free at last! That is the moment we were all waiting for this week and it has brought relief and happiness to every Missionary and person of good will that has been in solidarity and prayer for my fellow missionary Father Michael Sinnott for the past 30 days since his abduction. He is well and healthy and in good spirit, joking during a press conference despite his ordeal and promising to return to his mission helping disabled children.

According to Father Mick, the abduction was rough and his hands were tied when he was pushed into the back of a van in the garden of the Columban Missionaries' House in Pagadian city on October 11, then into a speed boat where he was blindfolded for the trip across the bay. He spent the first ten days in a mosquito infested swamp but was then moved to a densely forested area where he could walk a short distance to exercise. He talked with his captor in Visayan and shared stories with them.

They had an efficient supply system that brought in his medicine and food mostly sliced loaf. "We got what you call sliced loaf, which they got especially for me, I had that twice a day usually, and then some rice for supper. They had sandwich spread to put between the bread...I mean after a month, the regular menu was the same everyday. It was bound to become monotonous", he said.

Father Mick had a quadruple heart bypass a few years ago and there was great concern that his heart would be affected. But the medication arrived and he was alright. He said he was well treated and that his captors were most very kind and did all they could to make life as easy as possible under the circumstances.

He was kidnapped by a group of the Lumad Indigenous people, not the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). He was told, in fact, that his release, as it seems was managed by the highest officials of the MILF who had been accused by the Government of carrying out the kidnapping which they strenuously denied. They told him that they were not going to kill him and were after money and this was a huge psychological relief. He then set his mind and heart on prayer for the strength to survive the jungle and for his freedom to return to his mission running a special school for disabled children.

During his conversation with his captors they said they were holding him for ransom but when apparently none was paid and he was to be freed he asked why. "They said it was important to the get the message out to the international media. They want to mention that they are the original "Lumad of Mindanao" who lost their homeland and everything else when the merchants came", he said.

They were also angry at the MILF for condemning the kidnapping for ransom and saying that it was against Islamic teaching when they (the MILF) are "getting support and money from outside....while they themselves (the Lumad) have no means of getting money for arms and bullets except by ransom", Father Sinnott said. The day that Father Michael was released, it coincided with the opening of a national conference in Manila on the plight of the Lumad, an oppressed and exploited people.

On November 4, the call came for him to be brought out of the forest but after hiking for twenty minutes his hopes were dashed when a mobile phone message ordered them to stay as the typhoon was blowing in Luzon and the waves were "too high". Last Wednesday, the order came to move out and at 4.30 AM, Thursday November 12th, he was on his way to Zamboanga City escorted by members of the MILF. "Now I believe that I am really free", he told his escorts. He was turned over to Ambassador Rafael Seguis, Chairperson of the Government Peace Panel and flown to an air base in Manila where he was met by President Gloria Arroyo and immediately after he enjoyed a warm welcome by the Irish Ambassador Richard O' Brien, he was embraced by his fellow Columban Fathers. Undaunted he told the media that he will return to his mission in Pagadian, "They won't kidnap me again, he said, I'm too old, perhaps somebody younger", he said smiling. END

Visit for more related articles.

Jihadist kidnappers demand $2 million for 79-year-old Irish priest

"When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph considers the interests ... (of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner's death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy." -- 'Umdat al-Salik, o9.14

An update on this story. "Kidnappers demand $2M for Irish priest hostage," from the Manila Times, November 1 (thanks to Sr. Soph):

ZAMBOANGA CITY: Kidnappers holding an elderly Irish missioner hostage have released a video of their captive and demanded $2 million for his release.

The video, a copy of which was seen by a local journalist in Pagadian City on Saturday, showed 79-year-old Father Michael Sinnott holding a copy of the October 22 issue of a Manila newspaper as proof of life.

"My kidnappers are led by Commander Abu Jayad. They are asking $2million as ransom money," the priest said while standing in front of a white background in a forested area.

"We are living in the open, in difficult circumstances. I am still in good health even if I do not have the full medicines."

Sinnott is being held the boundary of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte provinces in northern Mindanao....

Eid Kabalu, a spokesman for the MILF rebels, said, "We are not aware of the video. Until now we have no proof of life. We have no photos or video of Father Sinnott, but if there is such a video, well that's good and a proof that Father Sinnot is alive," he said....

Posted by Robert on November 1, 2009


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