A video has been released with a kidnapping Irish Priest appealing for help from the Irish and Philippine governments. In the video which in local terms is often part of proof of life demands on the part of negotiators shows the 79yr old Priest reading a newspaper and then talking to the camera asking for help to secure his release.
Father Sinnott,, who was kidnapped from his Columban missionary fathers, ‘Mission house’, where he works with children with special needs in particular teaching sign language, improving reading skills, and, basic lip reading to handicapped children with hearing and speaking problems
The Irish Priest has been in the Philippines, off and on for more than 40 years. His case has brought international attention to his plight the holy father, Pope Benedict, who appealed for the priest release and called on work to ending the 40 year old conflict in the Southern Philippines.
Local news reports, say Father Sinnott, seemed to be ‘well’, for now the video has not been released to media outlets but is reportedly online. Indicating that the kidnappers are in or near an urban area with some web connectivity.
A criminal gang, and not rebels or extremists is believed to be holding the Priest per reports from local police and national investigators.
Meanwhile solidarity between Catholics and Muslims in Southern Mindanao and groups of all political color have mobilized to seek the Priests release from the hands of the the kidnappers.
The Islamic Rebel group the Moro National Liberation Front has declared that it is working on the priests release and denied any role in the kidnapping. Initial speculation by some investigators had pointed to a commander of the group whose fishing boat had been used as a getaway boat by the kidnappers.
The M.I.L.F., or Moro Islamic Liberation Front, has issued orders to its members to help secure the Priests release. The MILF is currently engaged in peace negotiations with the Philippine Government sponsored by th USA and monitored by Malaysia.
The rebel group seeks a ‘independent or autonomous’ homeland for members of the Mindanao Moro tribes most of whom are Muslim in faith. The Philippines is worlds third largest catholic population. Roughly 88 per cent are Roman Catholics.