Freed Italian hostage leaves Philippines hospital

Philippines / AFP

A retired Italian priest held hostage for six months by suspected militants left a Philippine hospital on Saturday a day after his ordeal ended, looking frail though officials said he was in good health.
His face partly hidden by a red baseball cap, Rolando Del Torchio stroked his grey beard and waved briefly before getting into an ambulance that the military said delivered him to a chartered flight.
The authorities found him late Friday aboard a ferry docked on the remote island of Jolo, the main stronghold of the militant Abu Sayyaf group, some 950 kilometres (590 miles) south of Manila.
“The victim is emaciated. He has lost a lot of weight compared to what we saw in his old pictures,” regional military spokesman Major Filemon Tan told reporters. The Italian government chartered the private plane for the former Catholic missionary, Tan said.

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