Philippines: Irish missionary kidnapped

Father Michael Sinnott

Father Michael Sinnott

Columban Father Michael Sinnott was kidnapped last night (11 October) 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.

Fr Michael is 78 years old and originally comes from Barntown in Co Wexford.

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.

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.

Writing on behalf of the Preda Foundation in Olongapo, Columban Fr Shay Cullen writes: "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"

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