Indian nun among 16 killed by gunmen in Yemen; victims handcuffed, shot in the head

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj urges Indians in ‘such danger zones’ to return home

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: March 5, 2016 1:02 pm
yemen, yemen nuns killed, indian nun yemen, indian nun killed, nun killed, yemen christians attacked, attack on yemen christians, indian nuns in yemen, yemen nuns, india news, yemen news Security forces at the retirement home in Aden, Friday. (AP Photo)

An Indian nun was among 16 people killed Friday in the Yemeni port city of Aden by a group of armed men who stormed an old-age home run by Kolkata-based Missionaries of Charity.

Officials initially said that four Indian nuns had been killed in the attack and that they were trying to ascertain their identities. Late Friday night, they confirmed that of the four nuns killed, only one — Cecilia Minj — was Indian.

The attack prompted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to issue an appeal on Twitter for “all Indians in such danger zones to please come back to India”.

Earlier, Swaraj tweeted: “Yemen — Four Indian nurses have been killed in a terrorist attack today. I am sorry the nurses stayed back/returned ignoring our advisories.”

Missionaries of Charity, however, identified those killed as Sister M Anselm (57) from Jharkhand, Sister M Marguerite (44) from Rwanda, Sister M Judith (41) from Kenya and Sister M Reginette (32) from Rwanda.

In a statement, it added that Sister M Sally, the superior of the community, and Father Tommy ADB from Bengaluru, had gone missing after the incident.

Sources told The Indian Express that according to information received from the Indian Embassy’s camp office in neighbouring Djibouti, the attackers, numbering between two and four, asked the guard to open the gate on the pretext of “visiting their mothers”.

“On entering, they shot dead the gatekeeper and started shooting randomly at the inmates,” Indian officials informed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Officials told MEA that the attack on the old-age home in Sheikh Othman district took place at around 1230 hours. “The assailants escaped soon after the attack. The area has been cordoned off and police are investigating the incident,” officials said.

In New Delhi, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “We are trying to ascertain the details.”

The statement by the Missionaries of Charity said that “the men were dressed in a bluish uniform and armed with guns”.

“They entered when the sisters were serving breakfast in the home. Realising the danger, four of the five sisters ran for safety towards the convent and were shot down in the open area,” it said.

The gunmen entered all rooms and destroyed the tabernacle, statues and the crucifix in the chapel, it said.

“They must have been demented. They cannot be normal people. There is no other explanation as to why armed people would enter the premises of the home and shoot down innocent, harmless nurses who had dedicated their lives to serving others. I was stunned when I heard about it. It was shocking,” said Missionaries of Charity spokesperson, Sunita Kumar, adding that the organisation would hold special prayers.

The Indian Embassy in Yemen’s capital Sana’a was closed last year after civil war broke out, with all its functions being carried out from a camp office in Djibouti, across the Red Sea. But even this office is now in the process of being shifted to New Delhi.

An AP report, which quoted witnesses and officials, said two gunmen surrounded the home while four more entered the building. They said the gunmen moved from room to room, handcuffing the victims before shooting them in the head.

According to that report, one nun who was rescued by locals said that she hid inside a fridge in a storeroom after hearing a Yemeni guard shouting “run, run”.

While some reports said the victims were handcuffed before they were shot in the head, officials could not verify that version.

There are at least 80 residents living at the home, which is run by Missionaries of Charity, an organisation established by Mother Teresa.

AP ADDS: Yemen’s civil war has split the country in two, with the northern region, where Shiite Houthi rebels are in control, hit by an extensive air campaign by a Saudi-led coalition. The southern region, which is controlled by the internationally-recognised government backed by Saudi Arabia, is suffering from a power and security vacuum.

Aden descended into lawlessness last summer after the Saudi-led coalition recaptured the city from rebels.

The Islamic State and Yemen’s al-Qaida affiliate have exploited the lawlessness and created safe havens in the south. Al-Qaida controls several southern cities while IS has claimed responsibility for a wave of deadly attacks in Aden, including a suicide bombing that killed the city’s governor and several assassination attempts on top officials.

(With inputs from ENS in Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram)

Disclaimer: The earlier version of the story said that four Indian nuns were killed in the attack, as quoted by the Associated Press.

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  1. B
    Boing
    Mar 4, 2016 at 6:32 pm
    The violent cult of the dead pedo warlord strikes again.
    Reply
    1. B
      Bruce
      Mar 6, 2016 at 4:58 pm
      Once again, these brave Muslims, demonstrate their courage for Allah as they defeated those vicious nuns.
      Reply
      1. T
        Tara
        Mar 5, 2016 at 5:45 am
        Christianity today is the most bl*oody religion, imagine how many people these Christians have killed from world War I, to World War 2, to Iraq war, to other hidden wars they have committed
        Reply
        1. T
          Tara
          Mar 5, 2016 at 5:39 am
          its a war zone who told them to stay
          Reply
          1. T
            Tara
            Mar 5, 2016 at 5:43 am
            what do u say when a white Christian like Bush invaded Iraq and killed MILLIONS THERE? Wasn't he worst than a terrorist? ?
            Reply
            1. S
              stranger
              Mar 4, 2016 at 6:42 pm
              its like blue collar worker killing white collar worker. of a rival company producing the same lethal product very dangerous for human consumption.
              Reply
              1. J
                Jatin
                Mar 4, 2016 at 11:58 pm
                So will these people now return or blame Modi and Sushma swaraj instead for the deaths... ????
                Reply
                1. R
                  right
                  Mar 5, 2016 at 1:42 am
                  First it was a old age home by converting old people they wont get anything, to understand why they were there in Yemen everyone need to understand what is love and compion ,
                  Reply
                  1. K
                    KS KUMAR
                    Mar 5, 2016 at 1:18 am
                    Will Kanhaiya and his media supporters condemn the Muslims who killed this nun.
                    Reply
                    1. K
                      KS KUMAR
                      Mar 5, 2016 at 4:49 am
                      Hope Rahul, Yechury, Raja and Kejriwal will go there and express their outrage on the killing of christian nun.
                      Reply
                      1. L
                        Larry
                        Mar 5, 2016 at 6:46 pm
                        These are true HEROS and NOT KANAYA. I am shocked media gave coverage to KANAYA and no news channel spoke about this.
                        Reply
                        1. L
                          Larry
                          Mar 5, 2016 at 6:50 pm
                          They wanted to serve and help others. Selfish people like you won't understand.
                          Reply
                          1. L
                            Larry
                            Mar 5, 2016 at 6:55 pm
                            World war 2 was not a religious war. Please read history? I am sure you haven't read it. May Allah bless you.
                            Reply
                            1. I
                              Indian
                              Mar 5, 2016 at 6:51 am
                              Rahul will force the govt. to make statement , reason for failure to bring her back, demand 25 lac compensation.
                              Reply
                              1. G
                                g
                                Mar 4, 2016 at 11:44 pm
                                Why was the nun in Yemen? They have to be careful where they go? It is not a safe place.
                                Reply
                                1. R
                                  R.Bala
                                  Mar 5, 2016 at 2:12 am
                                  Dear IE, Please dont report this! We want to know Khaniya kumar brush his teeth or p and his breakfast etc. Keep update saviour of India in headline if he pees give as breaking news 1.3 billion need to know this immediately! Dont report islamic spritual news!
                                  Reply
                                  1. R
                                    Rajiv Rockx
                                    Mar 5, 2016 at 7:14 am
                                    modi ji will say for that 25 lacs every tax payers will have to pay .5% tax more so service tax will be 15.5%
                                    Reply
                                    1. R
                                      Rajan Rajan
                                      Mar 5, 2016 at 2:17 am
                                      OMG , now why are u bringing in my hinduism , because a fellow sickular took your nun's life . is killing a nun allowed only by padres ( sis abhaya ) ! islam does not think so
                                      Reply
                                      1. R
                                        Rajan Rajan
                                        Mar 5, 2016 at 2:18 am
                                        oh is it , so what happens when a padre kills a nun ( sis. abhaya )
                                        Reply
                                        1. R
                                          rightan
                                          Mar 5, 2016 at 7:21 am
                                          2.5 million Muslim refugees begging @ the door steps of Christians by the grace of Allah . Because he can not help. Muslims running from Muslim country both killer and dead say Allah who ?akabar ?
                                          Reply
                                          1. R
                                            rightan
                                            Mar 5, 2016 at 7:28 am
                                            All Sickuliars will be happy as this tax will not be paid to Hindus and the opposition parties will be happy to p this ammendment.
                                            Reply
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