Suspect in Italian kidnapping nabbed PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 October 2015 14:34

Police have arrested the owner of a van that was tagged as the vehicle used in the kidnapping of a former Italian missionary in Dipolog City.

Police Regional Office-9 information officer Insp. Dahlan Samuddin said on Saturday that security forces had turned over to Dipolog City Police Station Amante Sagario y Bagain, 49, of Balangasan, Pagadian City.

Samuddin said the suspect had been positively identified as the owner of a metallic Mistubishi van found abandoned following the kidnapping Wednesday of Italian businessman Rolando del Torchio, a former Roman Catholic priest, in Zamboanga del Norte.

Del Torchio was seized from his pizzeria in Dipolog City by unknown gunmen and dragged into a waiting van Wednesday night, according to police. The van reportedly owned by Sagario was later found abandoned near the coast of Miputak village.

Del Torchio had come to the Philippines in 1988 as a missionary with the Vatican’s Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions in Muslim-majority Sibuco town before moving to Dipolog city in 1996.

Samuddin said that two of the 10 suspects in the kidnapping had been identified based on security camera footage from the restaurant as their faces were clearly visible.

Sagario remains under custody of the Dipolog City Police Station for further investigation.

Authorities have yet to determine whether the suspects are members of kidnapping syndicates operating in the south who hand over their captives to the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group to negotiate for a ransom that, if paid, is shared.

Rear Admiral Primitivo Gopo, commander of regional Joint Task Group Zambasulta, said search and rescue efforts are concentrating on coastal villages of Zamboanga del Norte.