Nine Workers Killed in Baghdad, Six Were Chaldean Christians

Iraqi Bishop Says Objective Is to Impede Reconstruction

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BAGHDAD, Iraq, SEPT. 27, 2004 ( Nine Iraqi workers were killed in Baghdad on Monday, accused of being collaborators of the United States. Six of the workers were young Chaldean Christians.

The news was confirmed by Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of the Chaldean Patriarchate, in statements on Vatican Radio.

The prelate explained that, from his point of view, it was not an attack against Christians. “I think they were killed only because they were workers,» he said to the papal broadcasting station.

«Many groups don’t want anyone to work. But, how can people live without working?» the bishop asked.

The insecurity that reigns in the country is causing great anxiety. «People are afraid to go out and the number of those who go to Church is diminishing,» he said.

«Some Churches have started catechetical activities; others have not for fear of having someone kidnapped. It is also difficult to gather young people. We’ll see what happens with the schools, as classes have not yet started,» he continued.

The Chaldean Church is working for the release of hostages in Iraq, in particular the two Italian women volunteers, who work assisting children in Baghdad, he said.

«Hundreds of people have been kidnapped for which they demand a ransom of between $10,000, to $20,000, to $50,000 per head,» he concluded.

Last week in Mosul, terrorists kidnapped and decapitated another 30-year old Chaldean Christian, who managed a small gift and souvenir shop near the university.

Many Iraqi Christians speak foreign languages well, which is the reason why foreign businesses want to be associated with them, both for retail businesses as well as import/export enterprises, reported Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Since the official declaration of war a year and a half ago, more than 80 Christians have died at the hands of Muslim terrorists, 20 of them in September of this year, ACN reported.

The decapitation of two of the 20 was recorded on a cassette distributed in Mosul.

In August, several churches and priests’ residences were targets of attacks.

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