ASIA/PAKISTAN - The Taliban attack a Christian neighborhood in Peshawar: a Catholic layman killed

Friday, 2 September 2016 violence   terrorism   religious minorities   human rights  


Peshawar (Agenzia Fides) - Four Taliban militants attacked early this morning, at 5.30 am, a "Christian colony", a Christian neighborhood in Peshawar, a city in northern Pakistan. The lay Catholic Samuel Masih, a father, was killed and two other Protestant Christians, employed as civilian security officers, were injured: refers to Fides Catholic priest Fr.Yunis Riaz, pastor of St. Michael Church, in whose territory we find the "Christian colony". In the following crossfire, two soldiers and a policeman were also injured, while four militants died.
Reached by Fides, Fr. Riaz, pastor for five years in Peshawar, recounts those moments: "The four militants were stationed outside the Colony. They waited for the gate to open and allowed Samuel to get out, who had to go to work. Then they started shooting, killing Samuel and entered the colony. In the crossfire, our two civilian security guards were injured. But they gave the alarm and called for reinforcements. soldiers arrived who continued the gunfight with the terrorists. Two of them were killed by the army. Two others blew themselves up, since all four had suicide vests, destroying a house where they had taken shelter. But there were no other victims".
The pastor continues: "I went to the spot where the attack took place, people are afraid, we are mourning Samuel’s death. About thirty Christian families live in the colony, and among these ten are Catholic. They are simple people, most of them work as cleaners in public offices. They are people with a strong faith: we will overcome this".
"The Taliban - concludes Fr. Riaz – indiscriminately hit civilian and military targets, schools and families: they want to destroy peace and have visibility, threatening institutions. We will remain united in protecting social and religious peace. As Christians, we will do our part, praying and working peacefully, building peace in our daily lives every day". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 02/09/2016)