Gunmen seize ex-Italian priest in Dipolog

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Seven unidentified gunmen seized late Wednesday a former Italian priest in Dipolog City, the capital of Zamboanga del Norte.

Seized was Rolando Del Torchio, 56, an Italian national and a former priest who owns and manages “UrChoice,” a pizza outlet in the village of Miputak, Dipolog City, said Police Superintendent Ranie Hachuela.

Del Torchio was seized around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at his pizza outlet by seven unidentified gunmen, four of whom have even bought and ate pizza, as they pretended to be customers.

Hachuela said that based on investigation, Del Torchio was abducted when he stood up from the counter and went to the restroom.

The gunmen dragged the victim and forced him to board a white van that sped off toward the boulevard area in Barangay Miputak. The boulevard is barely a kilometer away from the pizza store.

The gunmen abandoned the van and transferred Del Torchio to a motorized banca and sped to the high seas, said Hachuela.

He said police recovered inside the pizza store a jacket, two sunglasses, and cartoon boxes that were used by the gunmen to conceal the Armalite rifles they were carrying.

The police have launched pursuit operation in coordination with the military to track down the gunmen and the victim.

Hachuela said that investigation is also being conducted to unmask the gunmen. (Sunnex)

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