09/07/2009, 00.00
IRAQ

Mosul: more kidnappings and murders of Christians, to force them to the plain of Nineveh

A 60 year-old businessman killed, his kidnappers had demanded an enormous ransom. Another faithful of Mosul kidnapped; the fate of the doctor who was kidnapped in Kirkuk remains shrouded in mystery, AsiaNews sources: the violence disguises a political project to drive Christians out the city and force them to the plain of Nineveh.

Mosul (AsiaNews) - New episodes of violence against the Christian community in Mosul, the victim of a "campaign of intimidation" that disguises "a political project aimed: the creation of the plain of Nineveh." A 60 year-old businessman, Salem Barjjo kidnapped in early August, was killed by his captors in Mosul last week.  In the same city Hikmat Sayid was abducted and nothing is yet known of the fate of Samir Jarjis, the Christian doctor kidnapped in Kirkuk, for whose release Muslim and Christian religious leaders had appealed in recent days.

On September 3 - although the news was first reported yesterday - the corpse of Barjjo Salem, a Christian businessman, closely tied to the local church, kidnapped in Mosul in early August was found. For his release, the criminals had demanded a huge ransom, which the family was not able to pay.   Last week in Mosul, 370 km north of Baghdad, a gang of criminals kidnapped Hikmat Sayid, a Christian. In this case too, the kidnappers have demanded an enormous sum of money that the family will hardly be able to pay. In Kirkuk, the fate of Samir Jarjis, a Christian physician well known in the town, kidnapped on 18 August and still in the hands of kidnappers, remains shrouded in mystery. Muslim leaders - Shiites and Sunnis - and Christians launched an appeal for his release at the dinner in archbishopric in Kirkuk on 29 August, sponsored by Msgr. Louis Sako to celebrate the start of Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims.  

Sources for AsiaNews in Mosul denounce the climate of "fear, loneliness and concern" that dominates the Christian minority there. The growing danger of a "mass exodus" of the Christian community looms once again, especially if the situation "does not improve in view of the opening of schools." According to AsiaNews sources this new campaign of intimidation against the Christian community "has hidden political implications: it wants to create a climate of violence ahead of elections in January 2010. The project is to create an enclave in the plain of Nineveh and compel - even by force, such as bombings and targeted assassinations - the Christians to move there”.
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