Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - "We are surprised because there has been no talk about it", says Fr. Mauro Armanino, missionary of the Society of African Missions (SMA), from the capital of Niger, Niamey, on the announcement by Rémis Dandjinou, Minister of Communications of Burkina Faso, according to whom there is certain news that Fr. Pier Luigi Maccalli, SMA missionary kidnapped in Niger on the night between 17 and 18 September 2018, is alive. According to Dandjinou, Fr. Maccalli was first brought to Burkina and then back to Niger. The Minister, in an interview with an Italian information body, added that he knows that Luca Tacchetto is also alive, the Paduan engineer who disappeared in December in Burkina Faso with his Canadian traveling companion.
"In an informal way we knew that Fr. Gigi had to be somewhere in Burkina Faso", says Fr. Armanino. "From this report, we now know that he was apparently brought back to Niger, while the other Italian hostage appears to be in Mali. But no news was given about this here in Niger. I do not know the truth of the statements made by the representative of the government of Burkina Faso".
On the fact that most probably the hostages were transported between Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, Fr. Armanino says he is not surprised. "This is not new - he says - it is well known. We ourselves thought that Fr. Pier Luigi had been brought to Mali. Now we learn that he is probably here in Niger. I repeat we are surprised".
"Among other things, the spokesman of the government of Ouagadougou did not speak of Fr Joël Yougbaré, the priest from Burkina Faso who disappeared on Sunday 17 March in the north of the Country (see Fides, 20/03/2019)", points out Fr. Armanino. "It is understandable to talk about the two Italian hostages, but let us not forget the local priest of whom we have no news", concludes Fr. Armanino. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 12/4/2019)