Negotiation on for release of abducted Irish priest in S Philippines

15:04, October 27, 2009      

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Negotiation is on for the release of abducted 79-year-old ailing Irish priest in the southern Philippines, local radio reported on Tuesday.

Refusing to divulge gunmen identities, Roman Catholic priest spokesman Gilbert Hingone told a radio station Tuesday they have talked with kidnappers holding Irish national Michael Sinnott.

At the same time, Hingona said so far Sinnott captors have not demanded any ransom in exchange for his freedom.

Sinnott was snatched by at least six suspects from his house in Pagadian city in southern Mindanao region on Oct. 11. Authorities initially blamed a group of pirates, led by one Guingona Samal, behind the abduction.

"He is alive but he's getting weaker. We hope in the next three days there will be progress in the negotiation," Hingona told radio station dzXL.

Earlier, the Philippine's Muslim rebels, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is helping in the search and rescue operation said they identified the captors' location.

Sinnott was the second Western missionary being kidnapped in southern Philippines in the past five years. Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi spent a month in jungle captivity before being released by Abu Sayyaf militants in 2007.

Source: Xinhua
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