Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Abducted Irish priest released by captors in Philippines given to MILF

Rev Michael Sinnott, a 79-year-old Irish Catholic priest abducted in the Southern Philippines a month ago, talks to reporters in Zamboanga city also in southern Philippines following his release

An Irish priest kidnapped in the Philippines has been released after 32 days spent in captivity.

Fr Michael Sinnott (79), a member of the Columban Fathers from Barntown, Co Wexford, was last night being assessed by doctors.

Early indications were that he had been released into the hands of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

He was snatched by six gunmen from his mission's compound in the northern city of Pagadian on October 11 and has spent the past month in captivity.

The release came as dawn was breaking, at nearly 5am local time.

A new crisis management committee (CMC) was formed by the government in the Philippines in the past few days to negotiate his release.

And last night, Fr Sinnott's family spoke of their relief and joy after getting the news from the Philippines and said they were looking forward to seeing him soon.

A niece in Wexford, Aine O'Meara, said that she was feeling “great” following confirmation of her uncle's safe release.

“We're delighted and relieved,” she said last night. “We heard just tonight before the news broke publicly and it's just a big relief.”

Fr Sinnott grew up in Barntown outside Wexford town and still has many relations in the area.

They are now looking forward to hearing from him as he begins his recovery from the kidnap ordeal and rebuilds his health.

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