(Photo by Giro)
Pakistan (MNN) ― The bodies of three Christian aid workers have been found in Pakistan.
Authorities recovered the bodies of the three workers on Wednesday, not long after threats had been issued against workers trying to provide aid. The trio had been kidnapped and killed by members of the Pakistani Taliban in the flood-ravaged country.
Pakistan has been hit by its worst flooding in decades, with the United Nations now estimating that more than 21.8 million people have been affected.
Carl Moeller with Open Doors says details are sketchy, although for security reasons, victims' names and the name of the related aid agency are being withheld. Moeller adds, "Some of the relief workers there have been threatened by Taliban, but this is the first case we're aware of that foreign aid workers have been killed by the Taliban."
Military sources who withheld news of the deaths from electronic and print media to avoid panicking other relief workers granted permission for Compass Direct News to publish the information in limited form.
"The foreigner aid workers have been working in Mingora and the surrounding areas," Swat District Coordination Officer Atif-ur-Rehman told Compass. "On August 23 they were returning to their base at around 5:35 p.m. when a group of Taliban attacked their vehicle. They injured around five or six people and kidnapped three foreign humanitarian workers."
Moeller worries about the impact on the emergency response. He says, "The government-based agencies and others may, in fact, slow down their relief efforts which could result in, literally, the deaths of millions and exactly the same kind of thing that the Pakistan Taliban wants to occur: the withdrawal of foreign aid workers."
The Taliban message is clear. However, Moeller says their partners were willing to risk personal safety to bring hope to the survivors. "These killings are certainly going to put a certain amount of fear and concern on Christian organizations sending relief aid. Open Doors continues to work with our co=workers on the ground there. We're going to be completely committed to resourcing the Christian church in Pakistan, despite whatever threats are made."
Reports have also been surfacing of Christians who are being denied aid. The Taliban have also been spotted trying to bring relief to flood victims. To that end, Open Doors partners believe their response is critical as the hands and feet of Christ. Moeller says, "The love of Jesus is shown in that tangible way that relief takes place. Jesus does become the hero of the story."
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