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    » 08/03/2010, 00.00


    Sukkur, five Christians killed outside church

    A group of masked men opened fire on the faithful gathered to talk about security. Since 2008, members of extremists group threaten non-Muslims: "they pollute the land they live on and must leave."

    Sukkur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A dozen masked men opened fire against five Christians, killing them instantly as they left their church (see photo). The massacre occurred on 15 July, two months after threatening letters were sent to the church by a group of Islamic extremists outlawed by the government. The victims are Pastor John Aaron, Rohail Bhatti, John Salman, Abid Gill and Shamin Mall, all the faithful of the Church of the Gospel. Five other faithful were wounded in the attack.

    Shahid John, son of Pastor Aaron says: "The five were gathered in the church along with others to discuss the security problem. After leaving, a group of armed men opened fire against us”.  He escaped with a wound to the arm: "The area is steeped in fear. The police arrived 45 minutes after the attack, and we had to wait another 45 minutes for an ambulance".

    Last May, the Sip-e-Sahaba (Islamic extremist group, also known as Sipah-e-Sahaba) had threatened the Christians to leave the area before it was too late. Kiran Rohail, wife of Rohail Bhatti (one of the wounded) said: "They told us that we are not welcome, that we pollute the land." The group is composed of members of a local madrassa (Islamic school), which has been threatening non-Muslims since 2008.

    Naila John, widow of pastor killed in the attack, recalls: "In that year a group of Muslim students began threatening us, they wanted our land. Out of fear, only 55 Christian families remained in the area. " Local police "took our complaints but did not initiate any investigation. It is clear that threats from Muslims convinced them to stay out of the question".  

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    See also

    29/03/2011 PAKISTAN
    Third church attacked as Pakistani extremists declare war over Florida Koran burning
    Yesterday afternoon, an armed group attacked the Catholic Church of St. Thomas in the military district of Wah, 45 km from Islamabad. The fundamentalists hurled stones and tried to burn the building. Bishop of the capital, we are Pakistani Christians, we have no ties with the United States. Young Christians: no hope for the future.

    16/11/2005 PAKISTAN
    Punjab Christians urge government to visit their destroyed churches

    The AsiaNews correspondent in Sangla Hill has gathered witness accounts and precise accusations from the Christian community there, which saw churches, convents and schools burned down and looted. "Blasphemy has nothing to do with it," they say. "It's all about persecution." Torture at the police headquarters was reported. (Photos were taken by our correspondent: the Christian community of Sangla Hill and their destroyed property).

    23/02/2012 PAKISTAN
    Faisalabad: Islamic extremists attack Christian community, two faithful injured
    Grace Ministry Church targeted by fundamentalists for allegedly proselytizing. A Muslim family living in the area reports community. One person risks arm amputation from bullet wounds, a second thrown from the roof of the building.

    16/04/2011 PAKISTAN
    Punjab, Muslims attack a Christian village
    The attack took place this morning in Khokarki, near the city of Gujranwala. Hundreds of Christians forced to flee their homes. Attack sparked by quarrel with Christian, his son and some Muslims, over false accusation of blasphemy. The two Christians held at the local police station.

    30/10/2007 PAKISTAN
    Rawalpindi, suicide attack on Musharraf: 7 dead
    The explosion occurred in Pakistan’s Armed Forces General Headquarters, where President Musharraf was due to have been. It is the fourth attack in less than two months against Pakistani political and military leaders.

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