Christian relief workers abducted and killed in Yemen
June 26, 2009
(christiansunite.com) - On June 12, nine Christian foreigners were abducted and three of them killed in Yemen. Reports indicate that they were targeted because they were Christian relief workers suspected of being involved in evangelistic work.
According to officials, the Christians left the city of Sa'ada without an armed escort to visit a doctor who lives nearby. The believers left the doctor's home after two hours. Eyewitnesses saw a group of armed men stop the Christians. At approximately 6:45 p.m., one of the women -- a German national -- managed to call a nurse in Sa'ada on her cell phone. However, the nurse could not hear who was calling and hung up. Investigators believe that the kidnappers executed three of the hostages a short time later. The bodies of German nurses in training, Rita Stumpp (26) and Anita Gruenwald (24), and a South Korean woman, Eom Young-sun (33), were found four days later in the Noshour Valley region -- a known hotbed of al-Qaeda activity. According to a member of the security committee in charge of the investigation, the six hostages -- Johannes Hentschel (36), a German doctor, his wife Sabine (36), and their three children, Lydia (4), Anna (3) and Simon (11 months), and an unidentified British engineer -- are alive. At last report they had been handed over to tribesmen. Two suspects have surrendered themselves to Yemeni authorities and have been arrested.
The six abducted relief workers all worked for the Dutch-based World Wide Services Foundation, an aid organization that places medical personnel in hospitals in developing countries. Local imams were reportedly concerned that some of the relief workers were involved in evangelism while providing medical aid. The German Foreign Ministry's task force has deduced that the Germans were known locally as missionaries. Johannes Hentschel was threatened in recent months by angry Muslims who objected to his efforts to share Christ with Muslims. Missionary tracts were found in the belongings of the martyred German nurses.
Thank the Lord for the faithful life and work of those killed. Pray that the remaining hostages will be released. Ask God to fill those in mourning with a peace that surpasses understanding in the midst of their grief (Philippians 4:7). Pray for endurance and wisdom for those serving the Lord in Yemen.
For more information on the persecution of Christians in Yemen, go to www.persecution.net/yemen.htm.