Page 1, 9th February 1990

9th February 1990
Page 1
Page 1, 9th February 1990 — TWO Italian bishops this week offered themselves as hostages to

Report an error

Noticed an error on this page?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it.


Locations: Verona


Related articles

Bishop In Row Over Mafia

Page 1 from 23rd September 1988

Italian Bishops Warn Against Mafia Threat

Page 2 from 26th January 1990

Sicily's Bishops Excommunicate `blood-stained' Mafia Members

Page 2 from 25th November 1994

Mafia Murder Priest In Calabria Kidnap Drama

Page 1 from 9th June 1989

Calabrian Bishop Wants To Buy Mafia Pistols

Page 2 from 1st February 1991

TWO Italian bishops this week offered themselves as hostages to

a ruthless Mafia band of kidnappers currently holding five wealthy Italians for millionpound ransom. The bishops made a public appeal to the crime ring to contact them to negotiate their substitution for the hostages.

Their pledge to stand in for the victims, even while the kidnappers deal secretly with families for ransom payments, follows the latest snatch this week of an eight-year-old girl, youngest daughter of a wealthy North Italian clothing manufacturer.

Little Patrizia lacchella was kidnapped just 200 yards from her home on her way to a supermarket to buy sweets. Police believe she was chosen to replace a 21-year-old student kidnapped two years ago and released last weekend on a halfmillion-pound ransom payment.

In the past year, the highly specialised gang has kidnapped ten Italians, believed held in grottoes in the rugged mountains of Calabria, the "toe" of the Italian peninsula. Five remain prisoners, including a 20-year-old man, snatched two years ago and whose family has already paid just under £2.5 million "towards" his release.

The first plea to substitute the hostages came from Bishop Giuseppe Amari of Verona. "I am ready to go with the kidnappers", he said.

His dramatic public pledge was followed by another, from the Bishop of Acerra in south Italy, Antonio Riboldi, who has offered to act as substitute for a member of his diocese, kidnapped last October.

Other bishops whose faithful have been caught up in the kidnappings are likely to make similar offers.

Although kidnapping, dubbed the "Italian disease", has been rife in Italy since the 1970s when the current gang's predecessors held American millionaire's son, Paul Getty, for ransom, this is the first time the Church has publicly declared its willingness to negotiate in some way with the perpetrators.

And also for the first time, the Vatican's official daily Osservatore Romano, has criticised apparent Italian state inactivity in Mafia-controlled zones.

"At times, even the forces which represent the state wait until citizens report the violence they are subject to rather than take the initiative", the newspaper said.

blog comments powered by Disqus