Italian businessman and ex-missionary, Rolando Del Torchio, kidnapped in the Philippines last October, was released on Friday 8 April, says Agenzia Fides.

Police picked up the 57-year-old in the southern Philippine island of Jolo.

After six months of captivity, he appeared much thinner and was immediately taken to hospital for a check-up. He was later declared to be in satisfactory health.

According to Philippine security forces, the Abu Sayyaf Islamist group, linked to the Al-Qaeda network, was behind the kidnapping of Del Torchio, who left the priesthood and missionary work in 2001.

He was kidnapped from his pizza restaurant in North Zamboanga, on the island of Mindanao, in the southern Philippines. Zamboanga was the location of an attack in September 2013 by the Moro National Liberation Front, a rebel group active for decades, which wants to create an independent Islamic state.