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Church in El Salvador seeks to free abducted priest

The Catholic church in El Salvador said on Sunday it is negotiating the release of a priest who was kidnapped after giving a Mass last week.

San Salvador Archbishop Fernando Saenz Lacalle said the negotiations are being conducted in secret in line with the demands of the kidnappers.

"We can't provide many details about the circumstances of negotiations," Lacalle told journalists after saying Mass on Sunday.

The Catholic church has, however, issued a public plea that kidnappers not harm the priest, Rogelio Esquivel, the first priest to be kidnapped in El Salvador since the end of the civil war in January 1992.

At least 17 priests and four nuns were killed during the civil war. Among them was then San Salvador Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who was killed in March 1980. His killers were never brought to justice.