Father Bossi in captivity: still no proof of life

Father Bossi was abducted by armed men on June 10, on his way to celebrating mass at a neighboring village in Zamboanga Sibugay.

In its second statement dated June 29 and posted on a specially-made campaign blog for Father Bossi’s release (http://pimephilippines.wordpress.com/), the PIME Missionaries in the Philppines said “so far there is no proof of life, no clear identification of the kidnappers, no confirmed sighting, no demand for ransom, no declaration of purpose for this sudden abduction.”

We know that Giancarlo cannot disappear like a ghost. He is too big and must be difficult to hide him,” the PIME’s statement, titled “God asked Cain, ‘Where is your brother, Abel?” asked. The statement was the second issued by the PIME since Bossi’s kidnapping. The first statement, titled “We still hope” was issued on June 21.

We, the PIME Missionaries in the Philippines, are asking now ‘Where is our brother Giancarlo Bossi?”
He was abducted last June 10 in Payao, Zamboanga, Sibugay. Since then, we were told that he would be released within few hours, within few days…We were told that both the government forces and the MILF contacts have been monitoring all possible areas, all possible armed groups, and all possible witnesses, even the most secret hide outs, using the latest high-tech devices.
We were told that emissaries  were sent with cell phones to verify if he is alive, we were told that medicines had been provided for his hypertension, we were told he is well alive riding a horse. We were told that the kidnappers are asking for 15 million pesos…..But when we tried to verify all these reports we have come to the conclusion that they are all false reports,” the missionaries wrote.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon on Monday assured the priest was still alive.

We are very worried about him,” the PIME Missionaries in the Philppine’s second statement read. “We know for a fact that his captors are a large armed group who certainly have cell phones and connections with various influential personalities and organizations. Why can’t they be identified?  Why can’t they declare their purpose?
By now, we feel this is a vicious drama, the false reports are part of the drama, and those who make these  stories know that they are only deceiving the public. Why?????  Is this an attempt to cover up for some other purpose?” they asked.

The missionaries did not name the “large armed group.”

The missionaries added they have received several statements of concern and have been joined in prayer by so many people from all faiths. “We are very grateful to everyone of them. We were touched by the statement of the Consortium of the Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) who asked a question ‘Who gains from the kidnapping of a priest?’ Their question certainly deserves an answer. The common people can already see through so many lies,” the statement noted.

We are convinced that sever several people and organizations know the truth. Why do they reply like Cain, ‘I don’t know! Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Or are they the ones who are responsible for what happened to Giancarlo, as Cain was responsible to what happened to Abel????? We still  believe, hope  and pray that Giancarlo is alive. We pray also that among those who know what really happened, someone can tell the truth. As Jesus said ‘the truth will make you free.’ Likewise Allah, the  Merciful and the Beneficent, cannot stand deceivers, he is a lover of truth!”

Members of the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) had been pursuing the kidnappers on humanitarian grounds as their mandate had expired on June 21. The government and MILF peace panels have yet to meet to extend the mandate.

The AHJAG is a joint operation in pursuit of kidnappers and other criminal elements in so-called MILF areas.

But the MILF’s website, www.luwaran.com, on July 3 said the AHJAG had given way to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to work for the rescue of Fr. Bossi. “It is now the sole responsibility of the AFP to do the job alone,” Mohammad Nasif, a member of the MILF AHJAG core group said, adding they would be on “standby mode to respond as quickly as possible if requested to take part in the rescue.”

He said Atty. Abdul Dataya, chair of the MILF AHJAG, and Marine Major Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, GRP AHJAG chair, agreed on this after realizing that simultaneous rescue operations with the AFP “is not a very good situation.”

He said the MILF had pulled out its estimated 1,000 troops from the boundary of Lanao Del Sur and Lanao Del Norte particularly in Sultan Gumander town to allow government troops to come unhampered.