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Slain suspect not priest’s kidnapper

MANILA (SE): Waning Abdulsalam, suspected to have been the leader of a group that has kidnapped foreigners for ransom, was killed by a joint police and military operation when he resisted arrest in Zamboanga Sibugay on March 13.

He was also suspected of being a member of the Abu Sayyaf and the leader of the group that kidnapped Columban Father Mick Sinnott from his home in Pagadian in 2009 (Sunday Examiner, 8 November 2009).

Although rumours had been spread that he was the brains behind the kidnapping, the Irish priest says that he does not believe that this is the case.

However, Father Sinnott, who is now living in retirement in Ireland, told the Irish Catholic that he does believe he was among those responsible for his kidnapping.

“They say he belongs to Abu Sayyaf,” Father Sinnott said, “but if Abu Sayyaf had me, then I don’t think I would be alive now.”

He explained, “The name is not one of the names that the kidnappers gave me. He may be someone who kidnapped a lot of people, but I don’t think he kidnapped me.”

Father Sinnott was grabbed from the garden of his home when men in a pickup truck barged into the compound in the early evening of 11 October 2009. He was blindfolded and piled into the back of the truck and driven to the water, where he was transferred into a boat.

He remained in captivity until 12 November 2009, when the Moro Islamic Liberation Front negotiated his release. Father Sinnott had been looked after by his captors and emerged from his ordeal in fairly good physical shape.

“The two men who stayed with me for the last portion were very good to me. I never had much against them. We were living in very primitive conditions, but they did everything they could to make it as easy as possible and they never mistreated me,” Father Sinnott explained.

The Irish missionary worked in The Philippines for around 42 years. The real identity of his kidnappers was never revealed, but it is doubtful that the fundamental motive behind his abduction was ransom.

However, the identity of the real culprits has never been spoken of publicly.


The 85-year-old priest told the Irish newspaper that he would not like his captors to be killed.

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