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Philippines

Former Italian missionary released in the Philippines

Abu Sayyaf Islamist group reportedly held man for six months

Published: April 11, 2016 05:30 AM GMT
Former Italian missionary released in the Philippines

Businessman and former missionary Rolando Del Torchio, kidnapped in Dipolog City last October, was released April 8.

The Philippine police picked up the 57-year old Italian at a port on the southern Philippine island of Jolo, 1,000 kilometers south of Manila, where Del Torchio was to board a passenger ferry to Zamboanga, according to local military sources, reported the Vatican news agency Fides.

Del Torchio was immediately taken to a military hospital in Zamboanga, for a medical examination. After six months of captivity, the former PIME missionary appeared much thinner, but his health condition was satisfactory.

On April 9, the former hostage was transferred to Manila on a private flight arranged by the Italian embassy in the Philippines.

Philippine security forces claimed that the Abu Sayyaf Islamist group was behind the kidnapping of Del Torchio. The island of Jolo is a stronghold of the Islamist group.

Rolando Del Torchio was kidnapped Oct. 7 from his pizza restaurant in Dipolog City on the island of Mindanao. He was ordained a priest in 1984, and was sent to Mindanao. He left priesthood in 2001.

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