The Philippine military has deployed helicopters and spy drones with the help of US intelligence to search for Muslim rebels who kidnapped Italian Catholic priest Carlo Bossi of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in the Zamboanga peninsula. Bossi was taken at gunpoint after saying Sunday mass in Payao town June 10. Bossi, 57, is the third Italian priest to be kidnapped in the area since 1998. The other two were released after some months and it was not clear if a ransom was paid. Philippine security forces said the kidnappers, led by a certain Commander Kiddie, were linked to either the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) or Abu Sayyaf. A MILF spokesperson said Khidi’s real name is Abdusalam Akiddin and he is a loyal commander of imprisoned MNLF leader Nur Misuari. “He was once an MNLF member, but when the organization had a peace agreement with the government, this Akiddin formed his own group,” said MILF spokesperson Eid Kabalu. (Asian Journal, June 10; Reuters, June 11; Sun Star Network, June 12)
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