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  • » 05/14/2009, 00.00

    IRAQ

    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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    See also

    22/05/2009 IRAQ
    Kirkuk: young Christian teacher is freed thanks to help of Muslims
    Joint intervention of army and tribal leaders led to the release of Namir Nadhim Gourguis, kidnapped on May 14th last. No ransom was paid. Decisive the mediation between Imam and tribal chiefs. Msgr Sako: “the Christian community of Kirkuk rejoices”.

    11/03/2008 IRAQ
    Silence must not descend on Archbishop of Mosul
    The appeal was launched by the Archbishop of Kirkuk, 12 days on from Msgr. Rahoo’s abduction. To the Bishops and Christians of the world: “do not remain indifferent to this suffering, do not leave us alone to face this trial”. Amid increased fears, today in Kirkuk 15 Muslim leaders ask once again that the prelate be released.

    18/11/2010 IRAQ
    Archbishop Sako: the death penalty for Aziz and others is only an act of revenge
    After Talabani refused to sign the death sentence for Tareq Aziz, the archbishop of Kirkuk invites him to pardon similar sentences: Saddam's former officers now in prison are no longer a danger to the country.

    16/08/2007 IRAQ
    Ethnic cleansing first against Yazidis, soon against Christians
    The death toll from anti-Yazidi attacks in northern Iraq is rising and might reach 500. Sources warn AsiaNews that Christian villages in the Nineveh Plain are at risk. The area is currently controlled by Wahhabi extremists since there is no presence of US or Iraqi troops. In a climate of growing insecurity 40 children in Kirkuk receive their first communion on the day of the Assumption of Our Lady.

    10/01/2008 IRAQ
    Archbishop of Kirkuk says bombs will not kill hope or stop dialogue
    Following yesterday’s two attacks against the Chaldean cathedral and a Syro-Orthodox Church, Msgr. Sako speaks of a “political message aimed at Christians” and guarantees that “our commitment to building peaceful coexistence will not stop”. Appeal to the faithful of the world: we will not give in but we need your prayers.



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