Iraq’s al-Maliki expresses concern over Catholic archbishop kidnap

Baghdad – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Tuesday ordered the interior ministry and security forces of the northern Nineveh province to intensify efforts to release the kidnapped Catholic archbishop Faraj Rahho.

In a statement issued by Iraq’s prime ministry, al-Maliki expressed concern over the abduction of Rahho, who was kidnapped on Friday in al-Nur district in the east of the city of Mosul, some 400 kilometres north of Baghdad.

Militants killed three of his companions during the attack.

‘Any attack on the Christian sect is considered an attack on all Iraqis,’ al-Maliki was quoted as saying in the statement.

He has written a message to Cardinal Patriarch of Baghdad Emmanuel Delly III, asserting that Christians in Iraq shape ‘a basic component of the Iraqi society and an entire part of Iraq’s people and civilization.’

About three out of the 27 per cent, mainly Muslim, Iraqi population, are Christians. Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Christians have been subjected to separate attacks and assaults.