MANILA, Philippines, AUG. 8, 2001 (ZENIT.org–Fides).- Four Claretian missionaries have promised not to leave the Philippine province of Basilan, despite the aggressive terrorist attacks on innocent civilians in the area.
Brother Cesar Solas, a seminarian at the Claretian Theology House Community, told the international agency Fides that none of the missionaries are leaving their posts in Basilan. Father Martin Jumoad, diocesan administrator of the Prelature of Isabela in Basilan, has sent a message asking for prayers.
Basilan, an island 900 kilometers (558 miles) south of Manila, is one of the two main strongholds of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.
Abu Sayyaf resorts to kidnapping and killing of local and foreign personalities, to fund its campaign for full Islamization of the southern area of Asia´s most Catholic country.
On July 29, Claretian Publications, the missionaries´ publishing house, presented a book written by Jose Torres, entitled “On the Mountain,” which expresses the views and reflections of kidnapped victims of the Abu Sayyaf.
The terrorist group drew world attention this year in May when it kidnapped 21 tourists. On Aug. 2, the same terrorists kidnapped a group of Christian villagers. The headless bodies of 10 of the innocent victims were later found by the police.
The Philippine bishops issued a statement Aug. 3, condemning “in the strongest possible terms … [the] latest act if terrorism by the Abu Sayyaf group that has once again involved innocent civilians, including schoolchildren, which resulted in destruction of property and sown fear among the people in Lamitan town.”
Father Martin Jumoad sent a message to Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, head of the bishops´ conference, confirming that on Aug. 2 the Abu Sayyaf abducted villagers and burned a school.