Breaking news: The Islamic State ISIS released 9 Christian hostages descended from Batnaya village – Kirkuk – Emad Matty / Translated by Rashwan Issam Aldaqaq

The Chaldean Archbishop diocese of Kirkuk received Yesterday, Friday the 5th of September, 9 Christian hostages after they were freed by the courts of the Islamic State in Alkayarah district and the town of Alriyadh.

The 9 hostages, all of them from the village of Batnaya, were received and greeted by the Bishop Mar Yousif Toma, the head of the diocese of Kirkuk and Alsulaymaniah. The Bishop made distinctive efforts during the process of their release. He was following their movements and places of detention since the first day of their capture and contacted several places and tribal leaders.

The freed hostages are: Hanna Toma Hajo, Thaer Hanna Toma, Salem Elias Shamoun, Noah Yohanna Kakosh, Najib Hanna Audish, Habib Noah Hanna, Yousif Jacob, Ghanem Hermuz Georgis and Martin Ghanem Hermuz.

The released hostages said they have stayed with their families trapped in the village of Batnaya for 18 days. They were forced to get out because of the air and gun bombardments and went to the city of Mosul 10 days ago by the help of some Muslims friends.

They added, from Mosul tried to go to Kirkuk but the militants of ISIL arrested them at the area of Ain Aljuhish near the town of Alkayarah. After one day of detention, the militants released the women and children but they kept the men for 5 days during which, they presented them to the sharia court of the Islamic State in Alkayarah.

In the court the judge asked them to convert to Islam or pay tribute (Aljesia). When they refused both options, the judge decided to send them outside the boarders of the Islamic State. Thus, they continued in their way to Kirkuk, which was not easy at all, they proceed some distance on foot and other by using commercial cars that transferring goods.

In their way to Kirkuk, they were arrested again at the check point near the town of Alriyadh by militants of the Islamic State and for the second time presented to sharia court and detained for another 5 days. After they refused the conversion to Islam released again, continued their way to Kirkuk and arrived yesterday.

They said the terrorists of ISIL treated them violently and harshly in the prison and detention.

One of the released hostages, Salem Elias, said that the militants took everything we have money, identities of retirement and even our shoes and left us barefoot. He added when we presented to the sharia judge, he asked us either to convert to Islam or pay the tribute (Aljesia) and we refused.

All the other hostages talked about their suffering in the prisons of the Islamic State.

The Bishop Mar Yousif Toma then explained that the church will help them by sending each of them to his family in Erbil, Dohuk or they can stay in Kirkuk if they want.

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