Damascus (Agenzia Fides ) - The Dutch Jesuit Fr. Frans van der Lugt, a religious who lived in the troubled city of Homs, was killed this morning. This was confirmed in a statement by Fr. Alex Basili, Provincial of the Jesuits in the Middle East and the Maghreb. The note reports: "We have just been informed that on Monday April 7 around 8 am, Father Frans van der Lugt was abducted by armed men who beat and then killed him with two bullets to the head, in front of the residence of the Jesuits in Homs. May the Lord help our brothers of the Society of Jesus, who are totally dedicated to the service of all victims of violence".
Father van der Lugt lived in Syria since 1966, after a brief period spent in Lebanon. He was also a psychotherapist and very involved in interreligious dialogue. In the 80s the project Al Ard ("the land") began in Homs, a center of spirituality built just outside the city. The center housed about 40 children with mental disabilities from nearby villages.
In the last three years of war, the Dutch religious lived in a monastery that is situated in the old city, where civilians were besieged for many months by the regular army. The clergyman had often complained of the lack of medicines, food and aid to the beleaguered civilians, stating the urgency of reaching an agreement to intervene on behalf of sick, exhausted, hungry civilians. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 07/04/2014)