Irish Columban priest is kidnapped in the Philippines

By staff writers
October 12, 2009

Amidst concern among human rights groups for the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines, an Irish priest has been kidnapped by a gang of armed men there.

The missionary was snatched in the restive southern part of the country, reports the Irish Times.

Michael Sinnott, aged 80 years, is a Columban Father, originally from Barntown in County Wexford.

He was taken away on a speed boat after six gunmen entered the Columban House in Pagadian city in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, dragging him away, say local police.

The truck used to transport him to the harbour was later found abandoned and burned near the Columban House.

No group has claimed responsibility, but suspicion is falling on Muslim separatists who have been fighting for their own homeland in the southern Philippines for decades and have in the past kidnapped foreigners, including priests.

The Navan-based Columban Missionaries say Fr Sinnott was taking an evening stroll in his garden when he was seized.

The kidnapped priest was ordained in 1954. In 1957 he was assigned to Mindanao in the southern Philippines, following his studies in Rome. He was there until 1966 before being appointed to the theology staff in Dalgan Park, Navan - returning to the country in 1976.

Since 1998 Fr Sinnott has been involved with a school for children with special needs.

Keywords:philippines | ireland
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