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Philippine Muslim rebels deny holding priest

The Philippines' biggest Muslim rebel group denied Thursday that one of its commanders was holding a kidnapped Irish priest, while insisting it wanted to help rescue him.

The military said a notorious pirate had kidnapped Father Michael Sinnott, 79, from his home in the southern Philippines on Sunday and may have passed him on to a local commander for the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front Noun 1. Moro Islamic Liberation Front - a terrorist group in the southern Philippines formed in 1977 to establish an independent Islamic state for the Moros; have clashed with troops at United States bases .

It also said Wednesday that Sinnott was being held in a remote area that is known to be an MILF MILF Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Muslim group in the Philippines)
MILF Many Islands, Low Fares (Spirit Airlines promotion)
MILF Mother I'd Like to Find
 stronghold.

"We do not deny the fact that there is a presence of the MILF in the area and an MILF community there but it is not true that the MILF is holding the priest," the group's spokesman, Eid Kabalu, said in response on Thursday.

Kabalu also said the MILF was sending an emissary EMISSARY. One who is sent from one power or government into another nation for the purpose of spreading false rumors and to cause alarm. He differs from a spy. (q.v.)  to Sultan Naga naga

In Hindu and Buddhist mythology, a semidivine being, half human and half serpent. Nagas can assume either wholly human or wholly serpentine form. They live in an underground kingdom filled with beautiful palaces that are adorned with gems.
 Dimaporo town, where the military said Sinnott was being held, to check if the priest was really there and try to secure his release.

"We are ready to intervene and operate for the possible recovery of the priest. We have already mobilised our men on the ground to do whatever action is necessary," he said.

Six armed gunmen kidnapped Sinnott on Sunday night from his home at the Missionary Society of Saint Columban compound in Pagadian City on southern Mindanao island. Related article: Priests stand firm in Philippines

There are fears Sinnott may be used to extract a ransom, either by the pirate or whomever whom·ev·er  
pron.
The objective case of whoever. See Usage Note at who.


whomever
pron

the objective form of whoever:
 he passes the priest on to.

Aside from the MILF, the Muslim militant Abu Sayyaff group and armed gangs such as the one run by the pirate, Guingona Samal, operate in the area.

The government and the MILF have had a ceasefire in place since 2005 and the two sides are due to resume peace talks soon.

The MILF, which has been fighting for an independent Muslim homeland in the south of this Roman Catholic country since 1978, has said it had no interest in abducting ab·duct  
tr.v. ab·duct·ed, ab·duct·ing, ab·ducts
1. To carry off by force; kidnap.

2. Physiology To draw away from the midline of the body or from an adjacent part or limb.
 Sinnott because that would jeopardise peace talks.

There is concern over Sinnott's health as he had quadruple heart bypass surgery Bypass surgery
A surgical procedure that grafts blood vessels onto arteries to reroute the blood flow around blockages in the arteries (arteriosclerosis).
 in 2005 and needs constant medication.

Sinnott has spent about 40 years in the Philippines, first arriving in Mindanao in 1957 as a missionary. After a stint elsewhere, he came back to the Philippines in 1976 and never left.
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Oct 15, 2009
Words:392
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