A Chaldean priest, abducted by unknown gunmen in Baghdad, was freed this past Sunday according to the Missionary News Service Agency (MISNA).
Fr. Hani Abdul Ahad was abducted in the Iraqi capital on June 6 along with four young people. A group of unidentified gunmen blocked their road as they returned to Fr. Ahad’s parish. The four young people were released two days after the kidnapping.
Bishop Shlemon Warduni, auxiliary bishop of Baghdad, confirmed that the priest was freed, is well and has returned to his parish. The bishop confirmed that kidnappers had demanded a ransom for the priest.
Fr. Ahad is the eighth Chaldean priest to be kidnapped.
“We call for everyone to pay attention to our situation, because the Christians of Iraq are in a very terrible situation. We have nothing against anyone, we only want to rebuild Iraq,” the bishop told MISNA.
According to Baghdadhope.com, the kidnappings are “part of the phenomenon of the persecution of the Iraqi Christians and is an effective method to spread more terror in the now-scanty Christian community of the capital.”
“Abducting a priest is handier,” says the website, “because it ensures money and because it sends out a clear message: if the representatives of the Church, who … are forced to take personal security measures, are the victims of abductions and violence, what certainty is there for the ordinary man?”