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“Professionals” behind Bossi abduction?

MANILA, July 20, 2007—Fr. Luciano Benedetti, a PIME missionary now based in Western Visayas said they are indeed happy for the release of fellow missionary Fr. Giancarlo Bossi.

Speaking in Pilipino over Church-run Veritas 846, Benedetti, the first Italian missionary held hostage victim in 1998, said “Masayang-masaya kami dito sa Zamboanga sa pagpapalaya kasama naming si Fr. Giancarlo.”

He said Fr. Bossi, 57 years old, was released late yesterday afternoon in an area outside the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Fr. Benedetti said the newly-released hostage victim recognized some of his abductors and hastened to add “they look like from the same group that kidnapped Fr. Giuseppe Pierantoni, SCJ (Sacerdotes Cordis Jesu) in 2001.” He added the members were “more or less from the same group.”

Asked whether he knew some ransom was paid, Fr. Benedetti said “From the PIME, this time, not a single centavo came from our congregation.” He said there may have been some “board and lodging fees” but further said it may have come from other sources.

“Whenever a group would say they have Fr. Bossi in their custody, we have always told them to check with the (local) police officials,” Fr. Benedetti said.

The 63-year old Fr. Benedetti added Fr. Bossi’s “very thin, he lost a lot of weight.”

Fr. Benedetti said Fr. Bossi asked for his usual fare of cigarettes and coffee after being brought to the PIME Regional House in Zamboanga City. (Melo M. Acuna)