We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Michael Sinnott Al Jacinto/AP/Press Association Images

Notorious kidnapper of Wexford priest Michael Sinnott shot dead by security forces

The Philippine military said Waning Abdusalam had been involved in the kidnapping for ransom of several people.

THE LEADER OF a southern Philippine gang behind the kidnapping of Irish priest Michael Sinnott was shot dead by security forces today, the military said.

Waning Abdusalam was killed after he resisted arrest by a combined military and police team in the strife-torn island of Mindanao, said military spokesman Major Filemon Tan.

The suspect was gunned down in the town of Naga in Zamboanga Sibugay province. He may have had links to the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group known for kidnapping foreigners and Christians, Tan said.

Tan said Waning had been involved in the kidnapping for ransom of numerous people in Mindanao, including several Filipinos as well as Wexford missionary Father Michael Sinnott in 2009.

Sinnott was seized from his home by six gunmen near the city of Pagadian and held for over a month before he was released through the intercession of a larger Muslim rebel group.

The €1.3 million ransom demanded by the kidnappers was not paid by the Irish government.

Terrorist organisation

The Abu Sayyaf, founded with seed money from Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the United States. It has been blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history.

Kidnapping for ransom is frequent in the southern Philippines, where Muslim separatist insurgents and bandits have been active for decades.

Early this month, suspected Abu Sayyaf militants holding two Canadians and a Norwegian set a one-month deadline for millions of dollars in ransom to be paid.

In a video posted on a local jihadist group’s Facebook page, the emaciated victims warned they would be killed unless the ransom was paid.

Canadian tourists John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor were seized from yachts at a marina in the southern Philippines in September.

The Philippine government has stressed its position of not paying ransom. Police said they are continuing efforts to rescue the hostages.

- © AFP, 2016

Additional reporting by Catherine Healy

Read: Teenager among six people killed in avalanche in Italian Alps

Read: Secret service agents jump on stage at Trump rally after scuffle

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.