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World News

Priest rejoices as video shows kidnapped brother alive

by Heather Preston

A missionary priest expressed his relief after a video was released showing his brother was still alive after 18 months in captivity.

Father Pierluigi Maccalli, who served as a priest for Bomoanga parish, Niger was abducted from his home by extremists in 2018.

A video showing his release was published earlier this month.

His brother, Italian missionary Father Walter Maccalli said he was overjoyed to see his brother was safe.

"it's great news, and we are delighted and hopeful that everything may turn out well." he told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

"I never expected to get news of this kind about my brother… [as] a great deal of time has passed without knowing anything," he added.

Father Walter Maccalli is currently serving as a minister in Foya, Liberia. The short film represents the first news he has received of his brother's wellbeing since his kidnapping. He hopes it will be the start of negotiations for his release.

"We will now have to wait to see how things turn out. 

"Let us continue to pray and hope that we may finally even be able to meet in person and truly live that joy that we have been hoping for for such a long, long time," he said.

The video, which was sent to the editor of Niger's Aïr Info newspaper, shows Father Pierluigi Maccalli sitting on the ground with Nicola Ciacco, an Italian tourist who was last known to be cycling from Timbuktu to Douentza. 

The film is date stamped 24th March 2020.

The two men are reportedly being held by Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin' (the Group for Islam and Muslims), an Islamic extremist group founded in Mali in March 2017.

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