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    » 04/07/2014, 00.00

    SYRIA

    Homs: Fr Frans Van of the Lugt, who fed Christians and Muslims, is killed



    The reasons for the attack remain unclear. Some sources told AsiaNews that the priest was involved in mediation between the rebels and the army to save the local population, tried by starvation and constant shelling.

    Damascus (AsiaNews) - Fr Frans Van der Lugt (pictured) was killed this morning in Homs, a rebel-held city under siege from government forces. The 75-year-old Jesuit priest had lived in Syria for 50 years.

    In a statement, the Jesuit Curia of the Provinces of the Near East and the Maghreb reported that the clergyman "was abducted by armed men who beat him and then executed him with two bullets to the head" in front of the Jesuit residence in Homs.

    The latter had become a refuge for many people whose homes had been destroyed by incessant shelling and bombing during two years of siege, and a place where they could share some of the food and water left in the city.

    In February, AsiaNews had posted his appeal on behalf of the people of Homs, who were suffering from hunger and mental anguish resulting from bombing, shelling, insecurity and lack of medicines.

    The siege and continued shelling in the city had reduced the Christian community from 60,000 to just 66, the Dutch priest said.

    Fr Van of the Lugt never tried to leave Homs. In an interview a few months ago, he had said: "The Syrian people have given me so much, so much kindness, inspiration and everything they have. If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their difficulties."

    The reasons for the attack remain unclear. Some sources told AsiaNews that the clergyman was involved in mediation between the rebels and the army to save the people of Homs.

    The Jesuit priest had come to Syria in 1966 after studying Arabic for two years in Lebanon.

    Fr Frans van der Lugt stayed in Homs even when 1,400 people were able to leave the city thanks to an UN-mediated truce and food and water were brought in.

    A few days before the truce, the priest had posted a video describing the dramatic situation of the people of Homs.

    In it, he could be heard saying, "We, Christians and Muslims, live in difficult and painful conditions; we especially suffer from hunger. We love life and we do not want to die or drown in an ocean of death and suffering."

    A yellow sign next to him read: "Starvation is more painful than dying of chemical weapons."

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    See also

    14/04/2014 SYRIA
    I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
    A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.

    22/08/2012 SYRIA
    Damascus ready to discuss Assad's resignation
    Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil makes the announcement in Moscow where he is discussing possible new presidential elections. For the United States, there wasn't "anything terribly new" in his statement. Jamil refuses preconditions on talks. In the capital, 42 civilians die. Four foreign journalists have also died since the uprising began.

    05/02/2014 SYRIA
    Jesuit priest says people in Homs are starving
    Despite the war, Fr Frans Van der Lugt never left Homs. Attacked by both regime and rebel forces, the Jesuit monastery where he lives has been open to everyone, Christian or Muslim. He is the last priest left with the city's last 66 faithful. After more than a year ago of siege, residents are going mad and dying. Both regime and rebels must build trust and work together.

    07/10/2014 SYRIA
    As monk, parishioners are abducted in Syria, Gregory calls on the world to stop extremists
    Overnight on Sunday, jihadi militants seized Fr Hanna Jallouf and some of his parishioners from the village of Knayeh, northern Syria. For now, their fate remains unknown. Antioch patriarch tells AsiaNews that everyone faces the same threat, calls on Christians and Muslims to demonstrate against such violence.

    12/10/2015 SYRIA
    Nuncio in Damascus: Fr. Mourad "was released," is "resting" and "in good health"
    Msgr. Zenari confirms news of the release of the prior of the monastery of Mar Elian Al Qariatayn, kidnapped last May. The priest is expected in Damascus, to speak of the details of the kidnapping. No news yet on the kidnapping of Fr. Dall'Oglio.



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