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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 June 2007, 07:09 GMT 08:09 UK
Priest kidnapped in Philippines
Map of Philippines
An Italian priest has been kidnapped in the southern Philippines, police say.

The priest, named as Giancarlo Bossi, was seized by armed men near the coastal village of Bulawan near Zamboanga, and taken to a waiting boat.

Police suspect the kidnappers are from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), seeking an independent Muslim state in the south of the country.

Father Bossi is the second Italian priest to be abducted in the area in the last 10 years.

Police said Father Bossi, 57, was grabbed by up to 10 men while riding a motorcycle in Zamboanga Sibugay province, 800km (500 miles) south of Manila, on his way to celebrate Mass in a remote village.

Militants from the Islamist Abu Sayyaf group, known for frequent kidnappings for ransom, are not active in the area, they added.

The MILF signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 2003, but the authorities have in the past blamed rogue elements from the group for some abductions.

Father Giuseppe Pierantoni was kidnapped by renegade MILF members in 2001 and held by various groups before escaping six months later.

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