27 October 2016
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  •    - Bahrain
  •    - Iran
  •    - Iraq
  •    - Israel
  •    - Jordan
  •    - Kuwait
  •    - Lebanon
  •    - Oman
  •    - Palestine
  •    - Qatar
  •    - Saudi Arabia
  •    - Syria
  •    - Turkey
  •    - United Arab Emirates
  •    - Yemen
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 03/07/2016, 14.13


    Vicar of Arabia: No news about abducted priest, Aden massacre survivor in a safe place

    Mgr Hinder said that "government channels” have been activated to determine Fr Tom’s fate. At present, it is still unclear whether he is alive or dead. The lone survivor, the mother superior, was moved “out of the country". Shocked, Yemenis condemn the attack. Mgr Ballin agrees with pope about "Too much indifference around this brutal affair.”

    Sanaa (AsiaNews) – “There are no further news” about the fate of Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, said Mgr Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of Southern Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen).

    Last Friday (4 March), a terrorist commando attacked a retirement home run by the Missionaries of Charity in Aden killing 12 civilians and 4 nuns. They also seized Fr Tom, a 56-year-old Indian priest.

    Mgr Hinder said he is going through “government channels” in various countries “involved” to establish contacts in order to find out what happened to the clergyman who should be "in the hands of the attackers".

    However, "we do not know if he is still alive,” the prelate noted. “There is no firm information. Channels have been activated” to get his release. “We are doing everything possible."

    Yemeni authorities believe the Islamic State (IS) group is behind the violent incident. However, although the group is very active in the country, no one has yet claimed responsibility for the action.

    "We are aware that no group has claimed the criminal attack . . . but information points to the involvement of Daesh," said a Yemeni security official, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

    For Mgr Hinder, the attack against the retirement home in Aden, which led to the brutal deaths of four missionary sisters of Mother Teresa, has generated "profound sadness," not only among Christians in the region, but also among Yemenis.

    "People in Aden, Yemenis in general, are sorry for the turn of events,” the bishop said. “They held the nuns and their work in high esteem. They were shocked by what happened because terrorists were behind it, although we do not know precisely who the perpetrators are."

    The attackers killed the four nuns – Sister Anselma from India, Sister Marguerite and Sister Reginette from Rwanda, and Sister Judit from Kenya – and 12 other people who worked at the centre. Only the superior, Sister Sally (also from India) managed to save herself from the attackers’ brutality.

    Speaking about the mother superior, Mgr Hinder said she “is going to be moved out of the country. The transfer should take place today."

    "If there are no setbacks, she will be in a safe place today,” the prelate added. “The nun will move to one of the communities outside the country, but the situation is delicate and I cannot say more."

    Mgr Hinder also thanked Pope Francis for his clear and strong condemnation of the attack against the Missionaries of Charity in yesterday’s Angelus, as well as his criticism for the world’s indifference.

    Following the Marian prayer, the pope said, “I express my closeness to the Missionaries of Charity for the great loss they had”. He also appealed to Mother Teresa. May she “accompany her martyr daughters of charity in Heaven, and intercede for peace and sacred respect for human life.”

    Mgr Camillo Ballin, apostolic vicar of Northern Arabia (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain), also launched an attack against the indifference of the media and civil society.

    "The pope is right,” the bishop told AsiaNews, “because it is an evil thing to kill in the name of God. It is just as bad to see the indifference of the media, the absolute silence on the massacre" by mainstream media.

    For the vicar, this is a "very serious". “Informing people about what happens in the world" is increasingly important.

    For Mgr Ballin, the nuns bore witnessed with their own lives to "the passion of Christ," which "has involved them in his passion and death. Today, they partake in the joy of the resurrection."

    Speaking about the situation of the Northern Vicariate, at least as far as Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait are concerned, he said that "there is freedom of worship, although with certain limits."

    However, for some time, "a climate of tension is visible and governments have tightened controls and beefed up security because of real fears that the Islamic State group might make inroads.”

    However remote, the prelate hopes to see the two great reginal powers, "Iran and Saudi Arabia, find a balance" between them.

    Nuns from the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa of Kolkata, were attacked in the past.

    In July 1998, a gunman shot and killed three nuns of the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa of Kolkata as they left a hospital in the Yemeni city of Al Hudaydah.

    Local authorities said at the time that the attacker was an “unbalanced Saudi”. Two of the murdered nuns were from India – Sister Lilia and Sister Anneta – whilst the third, Sister Michelle, was from the Philippines.

    Since January 2015, Yemen has been the scene of a bloody civil war pitting the country’s Sunni leadership, backed by Saudi Arabia, against Shia Houthi rebels, close to Iran.

    In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes against the rebels in an attempt to free the capital. For Saudi Arabia, the Houthis, who are allied to forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, are militarily supported by Iran, a charge the latter angrily rejects.

    Groups linked to al Qaeda and IS-linked jihadist militias are active in the country, which adds to the spiral of violence and terror.

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    22/07/2004 CHINA
    China tops world in censuring religious websites

    Access to AsiaNews also blocked

    24/06/2004 RUSSIA
    Freedom of expression on trial

    Press freedom under siege, Filipino journalists says

    19/05/2010 PAKISTAN – ISLAM
    Facebook blocked by blasphemy regulations
    A judge blocks the social networking website until 31 May because some users organised a competition for Muhammad caricatures. Under Pakistani law, blasphemy can include the death penalty. Account creators say extremists cannot “take away our freedom of speech”.

    24/03/2016 09:17:00 CHINA
    Zhang Kai, lawyer who defends China’s crosses from demolition, is released

    After appearing on television to "confess his crimes" and spending six months under "house arrest", the lawyer was released. Together with activists for civil liberties, he defended the Christian churches against Zhejiang province authorities.

    Editor's choices

    The new bishop of Changzhi and the many voices on China-Vatican dialogue

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The ordination will take place on November 10 in the Cathedral. The bishop had been appointed by the Holy See at least two years ago. But he was waiting for the green light from Beijing. Similar situation in Chengdu. Fears for the presence of excommunicated bishops. Reconciliation between illegitimate and official bishops is not brought about by political gestures, but depends on personal and canonical procedures. A meeting between the Chinese delegation and the Vatican is not "imminent".


    Pope: the cruelty of those who kill children in Iraq “makes us weep”

    "Our hearts are shocked by the heinous acts of violence that have been committed for far too long against innocent citizens, be they Muslim, Christian or members of other ethnic groups and religions."  World Mission Day “is time of courage”.


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®