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Video shows abducted priest alive and stable

ICC Note

The kidnappers of missionary Fr Michael Sinnott are demanding for $ 2 million as a ransom. The missionary was kidnapped in Philippines where Muslim extremists have in the past kidnapped priests and aid workers.

11/01/2009 Philippines (Irishtimes.com) – Negotiations to free kidnapped Irish missionary Fr Michael Sinnott have been stepped up following the release of a video showing the priest alive and stable, though living in difficult conditions.

Negotiators have, however, firmly rejected a demand for a $2 million (€1.35 million) ransom.

In Mindanao Muslim militants have been waging a decades-old separatist uprising against the army in which many thousands have died. Muslim extremists have been blamed for high-profile kidnappings, including priests and aid workers.

In the video, an unshaven Fr Sinnott appeals in a weak voice to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to the Irish Government, to his fellow Columban missionaries and friends “who may have pity . . . to help so that I can get out of here as soon as possible”.

“The outpouring of support all over the world has been very gratifying and we would like to express our appreciation for that,” he continued. There had also been “tremendous solidarity between Christians and Muslims in the area where he was kidnapped.” As regards the ransom demand, Fr Raleigh said “the church doesn’t pay ransoms”.

‘Help me so I can get out of here’

In the video released at the weekend, Fr Michael Sinnott held up a copy of the Inquirer, a leading newspaper in the Philppines. An unseen accomplice assisted him in holding the paper which was dated Thursday, October 22nd.

In his video message Fr Sinnott said: “This is my statement of Saturday, October 24th, 2009. I Fr Mick Sinnott, am writing this with a small red Parker ballpoint pen given to me by Corazon Mendoza (well known for her long service to Columban parishes in the Philippines and a close friend of Fr Sinnott’s).

“I was kidnapped on Sunday October 11th around 7.30pm. I am told that the one who is the leader of the group who kidnapped me is Abu Jandal. He is asking for a ransom of two million US dollars.

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