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Philippines    CHURCH FEARS MINDANAO TERRORISTS COULD TARGET BISHOP
The life of Catholic Bishop Romulo De La Cruz, of Isabela Prelature territorial, Basilan province, is in serious danger, according to the Vatican news service Fides.
    It says the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group could target the Catholic representative member of the Crisis Unit set up by the government to find a solution to the 23 April kidnapping in which a number hostages are still detained on Jolo island.
    The alarm was raised by Archbishop Orlando Quevedo president of the Philippine Bishops' Conference.
    This comes after a 16 August Pastoral Statement in which Bishop De la Cruz called on the military forces to "remain vigilant and alert to continue to flush out the Abu Sayyaf so that never again they will wreck havoc on Basilian". Misinterpreted by the media, a major newspaper, the statement was reported as saying that the Bishop wants the group "wiped out" or killed, causing angry reaction and threats from the Muslim extremist group of kidnappers.
    Archbishop Quevedo said that Bishop De la Cruz based his pastoral statement on moral condemnation of all kinds of crime and banditry, which the Bishops' Conference likewise has in previous statements condemned syndicates in gambling, kidnapping, drugs, smuggling, among others.
   
Fides
   
8 Sep 00



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