Traditional leaders to Bossi kidnappers: “set him free”

Bossi was  kidnapped in Payao town, Zamboanga Sibugay last June 10 by 10 armed elements while on his way to officiate mass in a neighboring barangay.

Sultan sa Marawi Asgar Sani appealed to kidnappers "to free the priests because you will not get anything from it."

Sani, who was attending a three day seminar-workshop on Conflict Management for Council of Elders of Moriatao Sultan sa Marawi (Descendants of Sultan sa Marawi) and the Reconciliatory Initiatives for Development Opportunities (RIDO) Inc. at Villa Lacida, Linamon, asked kidnappers "that whatever political motivations and misunderstanding you had that you resorted to this criminal act, please disregard it. I appeal to you that you should free the priest in the name of our religion, Islam," he said.

"Free the priest and make him safe," he added.

“It’s a mockery of our faith that you did this. We the Sultanate are working for peace and we discourage actions that can only ignite Muslim and Christian misunderstanding."

Timuay Fernando Mudai of Peksalabukan Bangsa Subano (PBS) who is working with indigenous communities in Zamboanga peninsula to strengthen their traditional system for peace and development, also called on abductors to “free Fr. Bossi the soonest possible."

"Apo Mikpongon, the creature of heaven and earth, did not value abduction. It is the deed of Kindagow (evil)," Mudai said.

"We do not have exact information of his location now but we know that he was abducted by a younger brother of Commander Kiddie, a known leader of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)," Mudai said.

Mudai said the Prelature of Ipil had sent an emissary to determined Father Bossi’s condition.

Onsino Mato, a traditional leader from Mount Canatuan who is now in Tungawan, Zamboanga, "also asked abductors not to harm the priest."

Mato said the gukon or judicial body of Subanon community in Zamboanga peninsula joined with peace advocates of Zamboanga city in a prayer rally for the priest's freedom last Friday, June 22.

In Lanao provinces, Adona Orquillas, member of the provincial local monitoring team also discussed with Bangsamoro Development Agencies (BDA) officials of MILF.

"MILF sent Mohammad Nassif, an operation officer, to look into the whereabouts of the kidnappers. We will be updated of whatever developments there'd be in time," she said.

Lawyer Arthur Abundiente, professor of College of Law- MSU-IIT, called on people through his radio program Perspektiba over DXLS station, to be vigilant if politicians will make use of the priest's rescue for political bargain or concession.

He said kidnapping activities in Lanao had become the biggest cottage industry and abductors were left scot-free after victims were freed.

"The local governments have not pursued abductors to penalize them for this criminal acts," said Abundiente.

"Ironically, they have condoned this by paying board and lodging fees for the release of the victim. (Violeta M. Gloria/MindaNews)