Mosul (AsiaNews) – The lifeless body of a young Christian was found yesterday by the army in Mosul (Northern Iraq). The abandoned body uncovered in a street in the east of the city was that of 36 year old Chourik Bagrad.
AsiaNews sources in Mosul – a city with one and a half million inhabitants, 360 km north of Baghdad – confirmed that it was a an execution style killing: multiple gunshot wounds to the head. His body was later discarded in al-Bakr district, where it was found by police and brought to the morgue for an autopsy. Chourik Bagrad was a Christian from the Armenian Church and his brother works in Mosul University.
The same sources refer that a Christian was also kidnapped New Years Eve in Mosul. The man, whose name we choose not to publish for security reasons, was kidnapped and held hostage for four days. He was only freed after the payment of 50 thousand dollars ransom. During his detention he was tortured over and over again. “If we hadn’t paid the ransom – the source confirms – they would certainly have killed him. They are criminal gangs, who kidnap for money. The want the Christian’s money”.
Despite government claims and reports proclaiming that security standards have improved, Mosul remains “a volcano ready to explode at any moment”.
The situation for Christians there is still tragic. In October alone 16 faithful were killed and 2000 families forced to flee. Groups linked to Al-Qaeda are operative in the area, targeting Christians in killing sprees, destroying their homes and properties, threatening them with letters, abductions and attacks. A hate campaign perfectly constructed to drive them from the land of their birth.
In 2007 Msgr. Paulo Farj Rahho, the Chaldean bishop of the diocese was killed, his body found on March 13th in abandoned land outside the city limits. During the attack that led to his kidnap the three men who were with him for his safety were killed. In 2007 the death toll of Mosul’s Christian community was 13: among them we remember Fr. Ragheed Gani massacred on June 3and another two priests. (DS)