Ex-Italian priest freed in Philippines

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Manila, April 9 (IANS) A former Italian priest-turned-businessman, held hostage for six months by the Abu Sayyaf militant group on the southern Philippine island of Sulu, has been released.

Rolando Del Torchio, 53, was kidnapped from his pizza parlour, “Ur Choice Pizza House”, in Dipolog city by around 10 armed men on October 7, 2015, according to police.

Intelligence sources said local policemen led by Sulu Police Chief Wilfredo Cayat “recovered” Del Torchio at Jolo port, on Friday evening, EEF news reported.

Photographs released on Saturday by the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command show del Torchio at a military hospital in the southern Zamboanga city.

Del Torchio was working as a missionary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in the Muslim-dominated Sibuco town between 1988 and 1996.

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He then moved to Dipolog, where he later opened his pizza restaurant.

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