Four nuns of Mother Teresa slain by gunmen in Yemen

Vatican Radio


Four gunmen attacked an old people's home in the Yemeni port of Aden on Friday, killing at least 15 people, including four Missionaries of Charity nuns of Mother Teresa, the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia told the Vatican’s Fides news agency.  The Vicariate said two of the slain nuns were from Rwanda and one each from India and Kenya.  One nun who survived and was rescued by locals said that she hid inside a fridge in a store room.

The gunmen, who first told the guard they were on a visit to their mother, stormed into the home with rifles and opened fire, one local official said. As well as the nuns, the dead included two Yemeni women working at the facility, eight elderly residents and a guard. The motive of the gunmen was not immediately known. They fled after the attack, the official said. The bodies of those killed have been transferred to a clinic supported by medical group Medecins Sans Frontieres, medical sources said.

There are around 80 residents living at the home run by Missionaries of Charity. The nuns also came under attack in Yemen in 1998 when gunmen killed three of them in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida. 

Yemen's embattled government is based in Aden but has struggled to impose its authority there since its forces, backed by Gulf Arab troops, expelled Iran-allied Houthi fighters who still control the country's capital, Sanaa. Once a cosmopolitan city home to thriving Hindu and Christian communities, Aden has gone from one of the world's busiest ports as a key hub of the British empire to a largely lawless backwater. Aden's small Christian population left long ago. Unknown assailants have previously vandalised a Christian cemetery, torched a church and last year blew up an abandoned Catholic church.

23 die in attack on bank

Retirees killed while waiting to collect pension payments. Nearly 100 injured.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005
The New York Times

BAGHDAD, IRAQ – A suicide bomber blew himself up Tuesday in a crowd of retirees lining up to receive their pensions in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing 23 people and injuring nearly 100 others, including women and children, police said.

The bombing took place at 10:30 a.m., as the retirees were waiting in front of Al Rafidain Bank, said Maj. Gen. Shirko Shakir Hakim, a police chief in the Kirkuk police force. The main hospital in Kirkuk overflowed for hours with victims, and those with minor wounds were ushered out to make room for the more serious cases.

"Enough with terrorism and killings," said an elderly woman, who sat sobbing on the street near the debris of the blast site. She said she did not know whether her son, who was selling children's toys near the bank, was alive. "We're tired, and we want God to help us just as he helped his prophets. I beseech him to help the Iraqi people to stop the bloodshed."

The attack, the deadliest in Kirkuk since the toppling of Saddam Hussein's government, was the worst in a series of assaults on a particularly violent day here. Five Iraqi policemen were killed when a suicide car bomb rammed into a checkpoint in Kan'an, north of the capital, a police official in nearby Baqouba said. The U.S. military said a soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad on Tuesday, and two soldiers died from a roadside bomb explosion near the western provincial capital of Ramadi on Monday.

The 2nd Marine Division said Marines accidentally killed five civilians and wounded four others Tuesday after firing at two cars speeding toward a checkpoint near Ramadi. The cars had approached the checkpoint shortly after an insurgent had tried ramming into the checkpoint with a suicide car bomb, the Marines said in a written statement.

One of Baghdad's main hospitals reported that it received two groups of bodies Monday night totaling 24 people who apparently had been executed. Seventeen were Iraqi truck drivers who transport goods to companies in the capital, the Interior Ministry official said. The other seven were also believed to be working in convoys.

In a speech before the National Assembly on Tuesday, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Shiite Arab prime minister, said the government was trying to solve the impasse over Kirkuk, but that it was difficult to balance the political demands of the city's Kurds and Arabs. Most of those killed in the bombing Tuesday were Kurds, police officials said.

Tens of thousands of Kurds who say they were displaced from Kirkuk during the rule of Saddam have moved back in droves and are threatening to force out the Arabs whom Saddam relocated there. At the same time, the Turkmens, an ethnic group originating in Central Asia, entertain notions of regaining political dominance of the city, which they held under the Ottoman Empire, when Turkish sultans appointed the Turkmens as their proxy rulers in the area.