Kidnapped Iraqi nuns, orphans released unharmed

Patriarch Sako

Two Iraqi nuns and three orphans kidnapped in late June have been released safely, according to the Christian rights group Middle East Concern, reports the Catholic News Service.

The group, citing Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako, said the five were released on Monday without anyone paying ransom. They are reported to be in good physical health. They also said they were treated well during their abduction.

Meanwhile, Iraqi officials confirmed reports of mistreatment of Iraqi minorities in the areas controlled by Islamist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The extremist group has taken over vast swathes of territory across five Iraqi provinces north and west of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. 

There has been no official statement on who kidnapped the nuns and orphans in Mosul, an area controlled by the militants.

The kidnapped Chaldean Daughters of Mary, Sister Miskintah and Sister Utoor, and three orphans disappeared June 28. They went missing around the time the militants shelled Christian villages outside of Mosul, including Qaraqosh, forcing more than 40,000 Christians to flee, many with just the clothes on their backs. The majority of Qaraqosh's 40,000 inhabitants are Syriac Catholics.

The nuns live and work in an orphanage attached to the Chaldean monastery in Mosul. The orphans were identified as Hala Salim, Sarah Khoshaba, and Aram Sabah. 

Patriarch Sako and other Church leaders continue to express concern for the future of Iraq's Christian communities. Other non-Sunni Muslim Arab communities in areas controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant also have expressed fear for their future. 

FULL STORY

Iraqi nuns released; church leaders report mistreatment of minorities (CNS)  

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