Video shows kidnapped priest in Philippines
October 31, 2009
KIDNAPPERS holding an elderly Irish Catholic priest hostage in the southern Philippines have released a video of their captive in which he says two million dollars must be paid 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.
”My kidnappers are led by commander Abu Jayad. They are asking two million US dollars as ransom money,” the priest said while standing in front of what appeared to be a bed sheet or table cloth 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.”
It was the first time any proof had been made public that Sinnott, who needs medication for a
heart condition, was alive since gunmen seized him from his mission office in Pagadian on Mindanao island on October 11.
Father Patrick O'Donoghue, the Philippine head of the Missionary Society of Saint Columban, who saw photographs taken from the video, confirmed that it was Sinnott and expressed relief that he was looking relatively healthy.
However he stressed that no money would be paid to secure Sinnott's freedom.
”The Columban fathers do not pay ransom and we never have and I don't think we ever would,” O'Donoghue said.
He said Sinnott would not want a ransom to be paid.
”I could see him wanting that money to be used in ways rather than ransom. That two million should rather be used for education, for the care of people with disabilities,” he said.
O'Donoghue said he had no previous knowledge of the video and that he immediately relayed the news to a government commission that is in charge of recovering Sinnott.
The pictures from the video showed an unshaven Sinnott smiling slightly, while someone else's hand from outside the frame helped in holding up the newspaper. Regional military chief Major
General Benjamin Dolorfino said he was not aware of the video.
”I know nothing about the video. We have not seen the video,” he said.
There have been conflicting reports about who is holding Sinnott, with the military initially saying he was kidnapped by a Muslim pirate active in the area.
However Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro has also said he believes Sinnott is being held by rogue elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a separatist Muslim rebel group engaged in peace talks with the government.
The MILF has repeatedly denied any involvement. MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said he did not know of any Abu Jayad, and had not been aware of the video before it was released to the media.
”We don't know anything about a video that came out as proof of life,” said MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu.
However he said the MILF leadership was aware of Sinnott's general location and the likely identity of his kidnappers. But he said he would not reveal the details while the MILF pursued its own efforts to recover Sinnott.
The area of the southern Philippines where Sinnott is believed to be being held is a known stronghold of the MILF, while armed gangs and the Muslim Abu Sayyaf militant group are also known to operate in the often lawless region.
The Abu Sayyaf and other gangs have kidnapped priests and other foreigners in the region previously, then demanded ransoms for their release.
Sinnott has spent about 40 years in the Philippines, and is well-known in Pagadian for helping disabled children and other charity work.
How long before Catholic Priests and Rabbi’s or any other “non believer” start disappearing from the streets of Chicago, New York, and other American Streets,and an offer of buying their lives back is made by Hussein Obama’s new best friends, aka the “Religion of Peace” ?
How much money is 75% of the American population prepared to pay for the LIFE of THEIR Religious leader when the “Religion of Peace” makes a demand for payment for same?