Kidnapped Italian priest released...
Cebu City, Philippines
July 20, 2007 6:08am CST
I happy to hear the good news, Father Bossi is now free. By Joel Guinto, Thea Alberto INQUIRER.net Last updated 10:22am (Mla time) 07/20/2007 MANILA, Philippines -- After 40 days, Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi had been released by his captors who the priest said had treated him “with respect.” Bossi was freed 9 p.m. Thursday in the town of Karumatan, Lanao del Norte province, police officials said. Chief Superintendent Jaime Caringal, Western Mindanao police director, said Bossi was at the Western Mindanao police headquarters in Zamboanga City, where Italian embassy officials were waiting for the priest."He has been sick for one week. He is tired and he lost weight," Caringal said of Bossi. Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Calderon and Caringal said there had been negotiations between a former local mayor and Bossi’s kidnappers although no ransom was paid."Meron din silang mga demand but hindi naman natin binigay[They also have demands but we did not give them]," said Calderon. But Calderon said there might have been a "boarding fee" which he claimed was just a small amount. Calderon said Bossi was not being kept in the province of Basilan."Father Bossi was being kept somewhere else...but I think they have been very mobile," said Calderon. Caringal said Bossi’s abductors were led by one Commander Khidi, who was identified as a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)."It was a negotiated release. We got him in Karumatan last night," Caringal said in a phone interview. But Bossi said the kidnappers claimed they belonged to the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and came from nearby Basilan Island."At the beginning, there were 11 kidnappers, but at the end only five remained," Bossi said, adding that he was never moved from Lanao Del Norte. Police said Bossi's captors took him to a road where he was picked up by a team of police. Looking as if he had lost a lot of weight, Bossi was barefoot and wearing a black jacket and loose brown trousers that did little to ward off the chill. He was to be flown in a private jet to Manila later Friday."Well everybody is happy of Father Bossi's recovery," Calderon told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview. Bossi said he wanted to meet with his parishioners before heading back to Italy to see his family. He said his captors treated him "with respect.""I never had the sensation that they wanted to kill me, nor did I ever receive a death threat or violence of any kind," Bossi told the MISNA missionary news agency."The food wasn't great: rice, salt and dried fish. As a result I lost some weight. But I also stopped smoking; I haven't touched a cigarette since June 27."Asked to reflect on his ordeal, Bossi said: "I still have to think about it. I need to reflect in great silence. For now, I can only say one thing: It was an experience I don't recommend to anyone."Bossi's relatives in Italy were celebrating his mother's 87th birthday when they heard he had been released."Truly it's the best present for my mother's birthday," Bossi's brother Marcello Bossi told Sky TG24. In Rome, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi also announced the release of Bossi and was quoted as telling reporters that he was "truly emotional, happy.""Father Giancarlo Bossi has been freed, a car is bringing him to a Philippine police station," the ANSA news agency quoted Prodi as saying. Pope Benedict XVI welcomed the news with "great joy," said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi. Bossi, 57, was seized in Payao town, Zamboanga Sibugay province last June 10, while he was on his way to celebrate Mass. Last week, Marine troops looking for him in Basilan island-province encountered suspected members of the MILF and the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, leaving 14 troopers killed, 10 of who were beheaded. Bossi, a member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, has worked in the Philippines since 1980. Appointed parish priest in April, he was a newcomer to the quiet fishing and farming town of Payao, which was considered a safe place for a foreigner. Although a predominantly Christian town, Payao has a solid mix of Muslim and tribal residents who have lived side by side in peace for decades.
20 Jul 07
I think with his release, the image of the Philippines will somehow be uplifted in the world. Foreigners might not try to travel to our country anymore because of his capture. I'm just glad that Fr. Bossi is now released and safe from harm.
• Cebu City, Philippines
22 Jul 07
I was happy to learn about the release of Fr. Bossi, its more than one month that they kidnapped him. They said they didnt not pay any ransom for the release of Fr. Bossi but I am not buying their statement, money is involved thats why Fr. Bossi came out alive.
• Quezon City, Philippines
21 Jul 07
I am glad to hear this story last night, it was a story that did not end in a bloody confrontation between the captors and the military. Although I am sad for those soldiers that were victimized in Basilan that met their end in the most inhumane all in the name of rescuing Fr. Bossi.
20 Jul 07
Its a good news not only for us Filipinos but also for the entire Catholic Family.. It was through good and convincing converation and hard processed talks that convinced the abductors to release the priest.. Its a good news especially that no blood was shed on the process of release..(: