Beliefnet News

Associated Press
Manila, Philippines – July 19, 2007 – An Italian missionary priest kidnapped more than a month ago has been released after negotiations with a rogue faction of a Muslim separatist group, Philippine police said Friday.
The Rev. Giancarlo Bossi, 57, was kidnapped June 10 in the Southeast Asian nation’s volatile south.
Chief Superintendent Jaime Caringal, a regional police commander, said the Roman Catholic priest was freed at about 9 p.m. Thursday along the boundary between Lanao Del Sur and Lanau Del Norte provinces. “He is well, but he lost a lot of weight,” Caringal said.
In Rome, Italian Premier Romano Prodi announced the release. “Father Giancarlo Bossi has been freed … I’m truly emotional, happy,” Prodi said. “Today is his mother’s birthday, so it was also a very lucky coincidence.”
On July 10, a Philippine marine convoy searching for Bossi was ambushed by Muslim insurgents in jungle on the southern island of Basilan, and 14 troops were killed. The military blamed the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf for the clash.
Pope Benedict XVI said last week that he was praying daily for Bossi, and Italy sent a longtime diplomat, Margherita Boniver, to the Philippines to work for his release. Benedict received the news of Bossi’s release with “great joy,” according to Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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