Irish priest Father Michael Sinnott, who had been kidnapped by militants in the Philippines, was released Wednesday night to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which handed him to the Filipino government as a goodwill gesture.
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Filipino militants released an elderly Irish priest late on Wednesday night after holding him in captivity for 32 days. Father Michael Sinnott had worked in the Philippines for nearly 33 years when six armed gunmen kidnapped him from a gated compound in Pagadian City on Oct. 11. He was released into the custody of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which turned him over to government authorities on Thursday morning.
Although militants released a video in November in which Fr. Sinnott said his captors would release him in exchange for $2 million, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs says that he was released without any ransom payments.
Michael Martin, Ireland's foreign affairs minister told reporters that refusing to pay any ransom was in line with his country's policy to discourage future kidnappings, reports the Guardian. Paying kidnappers would set a precedent that endangers Irish citizens and "jeopardised the vital work of aid workers and missionaries around the world," he said.