Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Whilst Fr Piero Parolari, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), recuperates following his attempted murder yesterday, the Islamic State Group in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
In view of the situation, PIME issued a statement today to account for the attack, citing the Italian ambassador to Bangladesh, Mario Palma, who said he "did not to believe in the possibility of a series of attacks organised by ISIS but saw the incident more as an attempt to sow chaos ahead of a verdict against two opposition politicians accused of crimes against humanity."
Catholic sources interviewed by AsiaNews share the ambassador's opinion. Here is the press release.
Yesterday morning (18 November 2015), Father Piero Parolari, a medical missionary with PIME in Bangladesh, was seriously wounded in Dinajpur, about 350 km from the capital Dhaka. He was on his way by bicycle to the Dinajpur Medical College to visit some patients and conduct some medical tests.
What happened to him remains unclear. It appears he was struck by a passenger travelling on a motorcycle that had come up to him. Fr Piero, who was moving at a fast pace, fell hard on the road.
After passers-by came to his aid, he was taken to the Dinajpur Medical College Hospital by an auto-rickshaw driver. When they heard the news, his confreres rushed to the hospital.
Father Piero was conscious and responsive. After being quickly patched up, he underwent a CT scan that showed injuries to face bones.
After intense consultations among doctors, the bishop and some confreres, the head of the hospital decided to send him to Dhaka.
With the Italian Embassy and the Nunciature stepping in, he was brought to the capital by an Air Force helicopter to avoid the 8 to 9 hours of travel on busy and bumpy roads.
In the afternoon, he was taken to Combined Military Hospital, one of the best hospitals in Dhaka. Regional Superior Father Michele Brambilla was with him.
The doctors who examined him found three broken ribs; however, they said he was out of danger. He is still in pain due from falling with his bicycle and is taking antibiotics to prevent infections.
This attack follows that of Italian humanitarian worker Cesare Tavella and Japanese agriculturalist Hoshi Kunio.
For his part, the Italian ambassador to Bangladesh, Mario Palma, said he did not to believe in the possibility of a series of attacks organised by ISIS but saw the incident more as an attempt to sow chaos ahead of a verdict against two opposition politicians accused of crimes against humanity.
From Bangladesh, Father Franco Cagnasso said that all the other missionaries are doing fine. In Dinajpur, police have been deployed at the mission’s main entrance. The authorities told the missionaries that they can come and go as they please but with a police escort.
In other missions, some of the faithful have offered to provide missionaries protection, night and day, and go along with them during visits to neighbouring villages.
On behalf of the Institute, PIME’s Directorate General of PIME, extends its sympathy and solidarity to Father Piero and his family.