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Report: Philippines: Italian priest kidnapped

June 10, 2007

From The Philippine Star:

Gunmen abducted an Italian priest Sunday while on his way to celebrate Mass in a remote village in Zamboanga Sibugay, police said.

Initial reports said Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, parish priest of Payao town, was riding his motorcycle when about 10 heavily armed men in fatigue uniforms blocked his path in Barangay Bulawan.

This developed as Pope Benedict XVI made a heartfelt appeal Sunday to kidnappers around the world to release their hostages shortly after Bossi was kidnapped by suspected Islamic militants.

(…)

Several other Filipino and foreign Catholic priests have been targeted in the past by Muslim militants in southern Philippines.

In 2001, Irish priest Fr. Rufus Halley was shot by would-be kidnappers while on his way home to his parish in Barangay Malabang, Marawi City on Aug. 28.

Halley was shot dead by three suspected MILF rebels while trying to resist, police said.

Halley, a missionary of the Society of the Holy Cross Columban, worked as a linguist and peacemaker in Marawi for more than 20 years promoting dialogues in a bid to break down the mutual distrust among Muslims and Christians in the area.

Only recently, a Filipino lay leader identified as Roger Francisco of the Couples for Christ was among the seven beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf bandits on April 15, 2007.

The Abu Sayyaf gained notoriety for mass kidnappings, including the seizure of dozens of students and teachers in Basilan in 2000, and abduction of 17 Filipinos and three American tourists – missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham and Guillermo Sobero – from a resort in Palawan in May 2001.

Sobero was beheaded by the bandits while Martin was killed during a military rescue in June 2002 in which his wife Gracia was wounded.

The Abu Sayyaf made headlines when it began its kidnapping spree by snatching three Spanish nuns and a Spanish priest who were ransomed and released in 1994.

In the same year, the Abu Sayyaf took hostage a group of 70 school children and teachers who were ransomed and released.

The most gruesome was the case of Fr. Rhoel Gallardo who was beheaded after being tortured by the Abu Sayyaf in March 2000.

Gallardo was one of four people killed by the bandits after being kidnapped, along with a number of teachers and children from a school in Tuahubong, Basilan.

The bandits tore off the nails of Gallardo’s big toes before he was forced to walk barefooted. The priest was later beheaded along with three other teachers who were shot in the head.

Full report here.

UPDATE:
AsiaNews: PIME fathers appeal for Fr. Bossi release

Related Posts:
Theme: Muslim “separatism” in Catholic Philippines

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