05/14/2009, 00.00
IRAQ
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An armed band kidnap a Christian teacher in Kirkuk

He was kidnapped for ransom. Msgr. Louis Sako has intervened for his release seeking the help of Muslim leaders. The bandits want a “very high sum” in exchange for his freedom, which the family – of poor origins – is unable to pay.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – This morning at 10 am local time, an armed group broke into a primary school in Kirkuk, dragging away a young Christian teacher. Namir Nadhim Gourguis is 32 years old, is unmarried and from “a family of very humble and poor origins” refer AsiaNews sources in Iraq.

The gang of four people, broke into the primary school in Ruwaidha village –Al Rashad district, 30 km from Kirkuk – and abducted the teacher. They have already demanded a ransom: “a very high sum – underlines the local source – that the family is unable to pay”.

In an effort to save this young man’s life, the Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk, Louis Sako, has intervened appealing to the sheiks and imams in the area to help gain his release.  The prelate hopes that “these attempts at mediation will lead to he being set free”.

Kirkuk’s Christian community has been the target of these armed criminal gangs who carry out kidnappings for extortion.  Only days ago a young man was assassinated on the doorstep of his home; another three people–two women and a man – were shot to death.  The criminals see he Christians as an easy target: in fact unlike the Arabs or Kurds they are not protected by the community, relatives or police.

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