08/19/2009, 00.00
IRAQ
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Kirkuk: a businessman killed, a doctor kidnapped. Fear returns to haunt Christians

Yesterday in northern Iraq two violent episodes took place against the Christian community. A man was murdered because he tried to prevent the abduction of a Muslim child. A doctor kidnapped for money; a passer-by killed during the abduction. Local sources confirm a climate of "concern" that could cause "another mass exodus."

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - More murders and kidnappings targeting the Christian community in Kirkuk, northern Iraq. Yesterday evening Sabah Daowd Askar, 55 years old, married and father of three children, was killed in front of his home in the district of Almas. Also yesterday, in another episode, a 50 year old doctor was abducted on his way home. AsiaNews sources in the city speak of a "climate of fear" and are afraid of a "new mass exodus" of Christians.

Sabah Daowd Askar was killed because "he tried to prevent a kidnapping." The man, Christian, saw four people "kidnap a Muslim child." He tried to save him, but the "criminals opened fire”. "He was a businessman - said the source, who knew the victim well - very kind and generous”.  Because of his generosity he had tried to prevent the abduction of the child, “irrespective of his faith or the community he belonged to".

Samir Gorgia, 50, married with two children, a boy and a girl, was abducted around 9 last night, on his way home. During the course of the abduction a passer-by was killed, also of the Christian faith. "Even in this case - the source tells AsiaNews - this is a well known person. He is a medical specialist, known and appreciated by all” for his dedication to his work.

Once again "a climate of concern and fear” reigns upon the Christian community in Kirkuk, a victim of fundamentalist and criminal violence in the past.  The source says that "for some time the city has been living in a situation of instability" and a new mass exodus is feared. "Despite some attacks – the source concludes - few faithful have left the city, on the contrary, many families have recently returned. These latest episodes of violence, however, have generated a real concern for the future”. (DS)

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