GMA-NEWS 

Italian missionaries in the Philippines put up Wednesday a virtual diary on the Internet to keep track of developments of a kidnapped prelate from Milan. Fr Giancarlo Bossi, of the Rome-based Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missionaries (PIME), was snatched by rebels on June 10 after celebrating Mass on the village of Bulawan in Zamboanga Sibugay’s Payao town. “It’s raining in Zamboanga City. Reports, rather than bringing relief, bring only sad confusion. Days ago the military said that Giancarlo would have been released by the days end, then in 24 hours, then 48 and now in 72,” the PIME diary said. “Days ago, various agents of the shadowy yet trustworthy secret service told us that Giancarlo was being held in the area of Sibugay. Then he was no longer there, but near Lanao del Norte (300 kilometers east); then reports placed him on Basilan Island (300 kilometers West). It’s like shooting at the breeze. The truth is lost on the face of the map,” it added. The kidnappers demanded $1 million for the safe release of the 57-year old priest. A Philippine military official, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Dolorfino, said Wednesday that the priest was spotted by villagers in the mountain town of Nunugan in Lanao del Norte province. He said Bossi is being guarded by at least 13 armed men, five of them belong to the Maranaw tribe and six are Kalibugan natives and the remaining two were believed to be from Maguindanao province. “Yesterday (Tuesday) the Italian ambassador Rubens Anna Fedele came to be with us, PIME missionaries, on his way from Manila to Payao. We thanked him for what he is doing.” “Fr Gianni Sandalo’s visit to the site of the crime together with other, has conformed that those who kidnapped Father Giancarlo, those who carried out the dirty work of physically taking him, are people linked to the local criminal underworld, perhaps even hired by others who are from the shadows protecting who knows what to exploit the hostage,” the PIME diary said. Sandalo is PIME superior in the Philippines. “In the meantime he remains an anonymous hostage lost in the confusion of information, but at the same time he is someone who we know well, who is fighting to survive in this strange land, adapting himself to these rains, which drench him as well as his abductors,” PIME said on their journal. The Italian ambassador, who was in Zamboanga City on Wednesday, said there were no reports about Bossi’s fate. “It is difficult to trace the kidnappers. It is next to impossible,” Fedele told reporters. He also denied Philippine media reports that the Italian government would negotiate with the kidnappers for Bossi’s release. “What has happened is against the Filipino law. The judicial system has its own say. The Italian government is not negotiating with the kidnappers.” “We are not using Italian police; it is the Philippine police which [are] involved. We are not using the Italian army; it is the Philippine Army that is involved. We are not using the Italian judiciary system, it is the Filipino judiciary system,” Fedele said. The MILF, which is negotiating peace with Manila, has been helping also in the search for Bossi. Police tagged the leader of the gang holding Bossi as Akiddin Abdusallam, the deputy commander of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, operating in the Zamboanga Peninsula. The MILF said Abdusallam was kicked out because of his criminal past and since then has joined the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, blamed by authorities for terrorism and kidnappings of foreigners in the troubled, but mineral-rich southern region of Mindanao. – GMANews.TV

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