Mosul, Fresh Anti Christian Violence. Murder And Torture

Jan 16 2009

36-year old Chourik Bagrad, was massacred with multiple gunshot
wounds to the head. Another believer was kidnapped New Years eve: he
was released on payment of a ransom of 50 thousand dollars. AsiaNews
sources relay that Mosul is a "volcano about to explode".

Mosul (AsiaNews) – The lifeless body of a young Christian was found
yesterday by the army in Mosul (Northern Iraq). The abandoned body
uncovered in a street in the east of the city was that of 36 year
old Chourik Bagrad.

AsiaNews sources in Mosul – a city with one and a half million
inhabitants, 360 km north of Baghdad – confirmed that it was a an
execution style killing: multiple gunshot wounds to the head. His
body was later discarded in al-Bakr district, where it was found
by police and brought to the morgue for an autopsy. Chourik Bagrad
was a Christian from the Armenian Church and his brother works in
Mosul University.

The same sources refer that a Christian was also kidnapped New Years
Eve in Mosul. The man, whose name we choose not to publish for security
reasons, was kidnapped and held hostage for four days. He was only
freed after the payment of 50 thousand dollars ransom. During his
detention he was tortured over and over again. "If we hadn’t paid
the ransom – the source confirms – they would certainly have killed
him. They are criminal gangs, who kidnap for money. The want the
Christian’s money".

Despite government claims and reports proclaiming that security
standards have improved, Mosul remains "a volcano ready to explode
at any moment".

The situation for Christians there is still tragic. In October alone
16 faithful were killed and 2000 families forced to flee. Groups
linked to Al-Qaeda are operative in the area, targeting Christians
in killing sprees, destroying their homes and properties, threatening
them with letters, abductions and attacks. A hate campaign perfectly
constructed to drive them from the land of their birth.

In 2007 Msgr. Paulo Farj Rahho, the Chaldean bishop of the diocese
was killed, his body found on March 13th in abandoned land outside
the city limits. During the attack that led to his kidnap the three
men who were with him for his safety were killed. In 2007 the death
toll of Mosul’s Christian community was 13: among them we remember
Fr. Ragheed Gani massacred on June 3and another two priests.

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