Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - Imad Elias Abdul Karim, 55 year-old Christian nurse who was kidnapped on 3 October in front of his home in the suburb of Mualimin in Kirkuk, has been found dead. Local sources tell AsiaNews that yesterday evening, at about 11, police found the body of man "thrown" on the road between the district and Dumez and Asra Mafqudin Wa: the same place where in the past Risq Aziz - a Christian and ranking official of the city - and two other women were killed. From an initial medical report, the body "has obvious signs of torture."
Yesterday, Msgr. Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, appealed to authorities and local papers for the man’s release, calling the situation of Christians "worrying" because in recent months they have increasingly become the "target of threats, kidnappings and assassinations." The attack took place on the evening of October 3. During the hectic assault, the group - made up of three people - opened fire, wounding the man, a husband and father of two children. Local sources state that Imad Elias Abdulkarim was on his way to his car when a "group of three people who shot" at the man appeared. The assailants kidnapped him, disappearing without trace.
"Imad - says a Christian – was well known in the health circles in Kirkuk”. Requests for a ransom or the man’s professional activity could be behind the seizure".
The Christian community confirms the climate of "fear" for the numerous cases of kidnappings and killings this year. "Following the kidnapping of Doctor Samir Gorj”, reveals a local source, “some families have left the city. The government does nothing and Christians – he complains - have become an easy target". Yesterday afternoon, the Archdiocese of Kirkuk had launched an appeal for the liberation of 55-year old nurse. In a message to the media and city officials, Msgr. Louis Sako confirmed that "Christians are a target of violence" and denounced those who "seek political gain" or are "taking advantage of a lack of order" to commit kidnapping and demand "ransom." "Everybody knows - the prelate recalled - that Christians are citizens of this country and this city and no one has any doubts about their devotion to their country or their sincerity." He speaks of "acts against Christians who want to have a role in rebuilding the nation," of "a culture of humiliation that we reject with force" and "calls on government authorities, the decent people of Iraq and Kirkuk, to do everything to protect all citizens, whoever they are". Renewing the call for "dialogue and sincere cooperation", Msgr. Sako asked “the kidnappers of Imad Elias Abdul Karim to fear God" and to release the hostage so he could "return to his family and children as soon as possible." An appeal that went unheard. (DS)