Zamboanga (Agenzia Fides) – Businessman and former missionary Rolando Del Torchio, kidnapped in Dipolog City last October, was released on Friday, April 8. The Philippine police - reported local military sources - picked the 57-year old Italian up at a port on the southern Philippine island of Jolo, a thousand kilometers south of Manila, where Del Torchio was to board a passenger ferry to Zamboanga. Del Torchio was immediately taken at a military hospital in Zamboanga, for medical check-ups. After six months of seizure, the former PIME missionary appeared much thinner, but his health condition is rather satisfactory. On Saturday morning, April 9, the former hostage was transferred to Manila on a private flight arranged by the Italian Embassy in the Philippines, and now – report sources of the Italian Foreign Ministry – he is assisted by the staff of the Italian diplomatic delegation. The Philippine security forces have claimed that the Abu Sayyaf Islamist group, linked to the al Qaeda network is behind the kidnapping of Del Torchio. The island of Jolo is actually a stronghold of the Islamist group.
Rolando Del Torchio was kidnapped on 7 October 2015 from his pizza restaurant in Dipolog City, in the region of North Zamboanga, on the island of Mindanao. He was born in Angera (Varese), was ordained a priest in 1984, and worked in Naples for a few years and then was sent to Sebuco, on the island of Mindanao (southern Philippines). He had left priesthood and his missionary Institute in 2001. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 09/04/2016)