01/23/2014 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Coptic Christians in Upper Egypt continue to be targeted for kidnapping and extortion on a weekly basis. The most recent case occurred on Tuesday morning when masked men abducted 52-year-old Nady Farag Massad at gunpoint in the governorate of Minya. According to local sources, Mr. Massad was purchasing bread for his family at a local bakery when the gunmen forced him into their vehicle and fled the scene. Two days later, Mr. Massad’s kidnappers have yet to contact anyone demanding a ransom.
Mr. Massad’s kidnapping is only the latest in a string of abductions targeting Coptic Christians in Upper Egypt over the past year. According to Mr. Ezzat Ibrahim, the director of the World Center for Human Rights in Minya and Asyut, there have been dozens of cases. “In the year 2013, 69 Christians were abducted in Minya governorate,” Mr. Ibrahim told ICC. “Four of them were killed because their families were unable to pay the kidnappers that demanded ransoms, four of them were returned by the police, and 61 Christians were returned after their families paid a ransom ranging from fifty thousand Egyptian Pounds ($7,000) to several million Egyptian pounds.”
Families unable to meet demands of the kidnappers must rely on police to find their missing loved ones. In a recent interview, Aziz Narrows, the father of Abanoub Narrows, a 14-year-old kidnapped last November, relayed his experience to ICC.