DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     September 15, 1998     vol. 9, no. 180

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

KIDNAPPED PRIEST WARNS AGAINST RESCUE OPERATION IN PHILIPPINES WHILE IN COLUMBIA ANOTHER PRIEST SHOT DURING MASS

          ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (CWNews.com) - An Italian missionary priest being held by a rebel kidnap gang in the southern Philippines asked military forces not to stage a rescue operation as publicly announced, the priest's religious order said on Monday.

          Father Luciano Benedetti, 56, was kidnapped last week by a group of about 30 suspected Muslim rebels. Father Giulio Mariani, the priest's superior, said he had received a letter from Father Benedetti urging a halt to the planned operation. "He is asking that the military sort of take a low profile so that nothing untoward will happen to them," Father Mariani said. "He says that if they carry out the military operation, there may not be any survivors."

          Father Benedetti is one of about nine people known to be held by kidnap gangs on Mindanao island where Muslim guerillas are fighting a campaign to set up an autonomous homeland. The other victims held by kidnappers include three Hong Kong nationals and a Taiwan woman, all abducted last week. Father Mariani said he had not received any ransom demands for Father Benedetti.

          Meanwhile, in Bogota, Columbia, two gunmen burst into a rural Colombian church on Friday and shot the priest as he celebrated Mass and seriously injured a woman who attempted to aid the priest.

          Father Alcides Jimenez had served the village of Puerto Caicedo in southwestern Colombia for 20 years, and had recently led a demonstration in support of the government's call for peace talks with Marxist rebels. Police said right-wing gunmen were suspected in the attack.

          Father Jimenez was in the middle of his sermon when the murderers entered the church and shot him at least 14 times.


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September 15, 1998       volume 9, no. 180
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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