Kidnapped Chaldean Archbishop “may already be dead”

12 Mar 2008

By The Record

LONDON (CNS) – An Iraqi archbishop has expressed concern that Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul, Iraq, who was kidnapped for ransom, is sick, injured or has been killed.


Kidnapped Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho. Photo: CNS


No one has heard from Archbishop Rahho since he was kidnapped Feb. 29 after he finished leading the Way of the Cross in Mosul, said Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, Iraq, in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity helping persecuted Christians. The interview was released by the British branch of the charity on March 10.
    Archbishop Rahho "was able to make a call from the back of the car in which he was kidnapped but since then nothing," said Archbishop Sako. "The people in contact with the kidnappers have over several days asked to hear the archbishop’s voice, but they are constantly refused."
    Archbishop Sako said he was worried the captors have increased the ransom for Archbishop Rahho’s release from US$1 million to US$2 million to US$3 million.
    "It leaves us with two possibilities," he told the charity. "Either the archbishop is sick or injured or he has been killed and the kidnappers just want to get as much money as possible."
    The Mosul archbishop reportedly is in poor health with a heart condition and needs medication daily.
    Archbishop Sako, who said he thinks the captors are organized, added: "Really, this is a kind of mourning time. There is nothing from the archbishop – no sign. We don’t know where we are heading with the process – the future is totally unknown."
    Archbishop Rahho had just left the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul and was in his car with his driver and two bodyguards when the kidnappers attacked. The three people who were traveling with him were killed.