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Gunmen kidnap Coptic priest in South Darfur’s Nyala

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April 14, 2016 (NYALA) - Unidentified gunmen Thursday abducted a priest of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the capital of South Darfur state, Nyala and took him to unknown destination.

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Priest of Holy Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in Nyala, Gabriel Anthony (ST Photo)

Nyala is the home of hundreds of Sudanese Copts. Also, the Sudanese Coptic Church is officially recognized, and exempt from property tax.

The Commissioner of Nyala North County, Ismail Yahya Abdallah, said three offenders on riding a four-wheel drive vehicle "Land Cruiser" carried out the kidnapping in broad daylight of the Priest of Holy Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in Nyala, Gabriel Anthony, in front of his poultry farm near Atash camp for displaced persons.

The perpetrators took the abductee to an unknown destination in the northern side of Nyala.

The commissioner said the security services are exerting great efforts that he expected lead to free the priest, arrest the culprits and bring them to justice.

He denied any religious dimension to the incident, or any link with terrorist groups, saying it was simply a criminal incident carried out by armed groups that used to commit armed robbery, kidnapping and killing of citizens in order to obtain ransom.

The state of emergency including a curfew from 7:00pm to 7:00am has been declared in Nyala since July 2014.

The decision also banned riding of motorcycles by more than one person, holding weapons while wearing civilian clothes, vehicles driving around without license plates, and wearing a kadamool (a turban which covers the face).

During the recent visit of President Omer al-Bashir to Nyala, the Governor Adam al-Faki promised to lift the state of emergency soon after the improvement of the security situation.

(ST)

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