Nigerian president expresses ‘overwhelming joy’ as all 279 kidnapped students are released

All 279 girls kidnapped from their boarding school in northern Nigeria have been released and are on government premises, the local governor told AFP on Tuesday.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari expressed “overwhelming joy” over the release of the girls from days of captivity, vowing tougher action against kidnappers.

Nigeria has been rocked by four mass abductions of students in less than three months, sparking widespread anger against the government and memories of the 2014 kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in Chibok, in the country’s east, that shocked the world.

“I am happy to announce that the girls are free,” Dr Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara state, told an AFP journalist early on Tuesday. “They have just arrived in the government house and are in good health.”

An AFP reporter saw hundreds of girls wearing hijabs, gathered at the government premises.

Authorities initially said 317 girls were abducted in the raid by hundreds of gunmen on the Government Girls Secondary School in remote Jangebe village on Friday.

But Dr Matawalle said the “total number of female students abducted” was 279.

“We thank Allah they are all now with us.”

AFP footage showed minibuses pulling up in the night with students inside and lines of girls filing into a building. 

Government officials had been in talks with the kidnappers, known locally as bandits.

A source said “repentant bandits” had been contacted to reach out to their former comrades as part of efforts to free the students.

Armed gangs

Heavily armed criminal gangs in northwest and central Nigeria have stepped up attacks in recent years, kidnapping for ransom, raping and pillaging. 

The Nigerian military deployed to the area in 2016 and a peace deal with bandits was signed in 2019 but attacks have continued.

In December, more than 300 boys were kidnapped from a school in Kankara, in President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state of Katsina, while he was visiting the region.

The boys were later released but the incident triggered outrage and memories of the kidnappings of 276 schoolgirls by jihadists in Chibok.

Many of those girls are still missing.

The gangs are largely driven by financial motives and have no known ideological leanings.

But there are concerns they are being infiltrated by armed Islamists. The jihadists’ decade-old conflict has killed more than 30,000 people and spread into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Authorities have denied paying any ransom to secure the recent releases, although analysts say this is unlikely and security experts fear that this will lead to an increase in kidnappings in these regions plagued by extreme poverty.

President Buhari, who has been criticised for failing to deal with the unrest, had insisted that he would “not succumb to blackmail by bandits”.

In a statement on Tuesday Mr Buhari said he was excited the schoolgirls were freed without any incident, adding that “being held in captivity is an agonising experience not only for the victims, but also their families and all of us”.

The Nigerian leader urged “the police and the military to go after these kidnappers and bring them to justice”.

Nigeria has been rocked by four mass abductions of students in less than three months.


Security deteriorating

Mr Buhari was elected president for the first time in 2015, a year after the mass kidnapping at Chibok, where 276 girls were abducted by the jihadist group Boko Haram in northern Nigeria – triggering an international outcry.

More than one hundred of them remain missing and it is not known how many of them are still alive.

Mr Buhari had promised to end the conflict in the northeast, but the situation has sharply deteriorated since.

Jihadists linked to the Islamic State have attacked a UN base and overrun a humanitarian hub in Dikwa, northern Nigeria, trapping 25 aid workers, security and humanitarian sources said late Monday. The attack was still under way on Tuesday.

If the northeast is still not secure, the northwest is also under the yoke of armed groups the authorities call “bandits”, who terrorise the people, steel cattle and perpetuate mass kidnappings for ransom.

Kidnapping for ransom in Africa’s most populous country is already a widespread national problem, with businessmen, officials and ordinary citizens snatched from the streets.

At least $US11 million ($A14.1 million) was paid to kidnappers between January 2016 and March 2020, according to SB Morgen, a Lagos-based geopolitical research consultancy. 

The student abductions have increased the number of children who cannot attend school, especially girls.

The regions involved account for the greatest number of unschooled children in the world, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group says.

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Nigerian governor says 279 kidnapped schoolgirls are freed

Hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls abducted last week from a boarding school in the northwestern Zamfara state have been released, the state’s governor said Tuesday.

Zamfara state governor Bello Matawalle announced that 279 girls have been freed. The government last week said 317 had been kidnapped.

Gunmen abducted the girls from the Government Girls Junior Secondary School in Jangebe town on Friday, in the latest in a series of mass kidnappings of students in the West African nation.

An Associated Press reporter saw hundreds of girls dressed in light blue hijabs and barefoot sitting at the state Government House office in Gusau.

After the meeting, the girls were escorted outside by officials and lined up to be taken away in vans. They appeared calm and ranged in ages from 10 and up.

Matawalle said they would be taken for medical examinations before being reunited with their families.

“Alhamdulillah! (God be praised!) It gladdens my heart to announce the release of the abducted students of GGSS Jangebe from captivity. This follows the scaling of several hurdles laid against our efforts. I enjoin all well-meaning Nigerians to rejoice with us as our daughters are now safe,” Matawalle said in a post on Twitter early Tuesday.

At the time of the attack, one resident told AP that the gunmen also attacked a nearby military camp and checkpoint, preventing soldiers from responding to the mass abduction at the school.

One of the girls recounted the night of their abduction to the AP.

“We were sleeping at night when suddenly we started hearing gunshots. They were shooting endlessly. We got out of our beds and people said we should run, that they are thieves,” she said. “Everybody fled and there were just two of us left in the room.”

The attackers held guns to the girls’ heads, she said.

“I was really afraid of being shot,” she said, adding that they asked for directions to the staff quarters and the principal. “We said we don’t know who she is. They said the principal is our father and they will teach us a lesson.”

Police and the military had since been carrying out joint operations to rescue the girls, whose abduction caused international outrage.

President Muhammadu Buhari expressed “overwhelming joy” over the release of the girls.

“I join the families and people of Zamfara State in welcoming and celebrating the release of these traumatised female students,” he said in a statement. “Being held in captivity is an agonising experience not only for the victims, but also their families and all of us.”

The president called for greater vigilance to prevent bandits from carrying out such attacks.

He urged police and military to pursue the kidnappers, and warned that policies of making payments to bandits will backfire.

“Ransom payments will continue to prosper kidnapping,” he said.

The terms of the female students’ release were not made immediately clear.

Nigeria has seen several such attacks and kidnappings in recent years. On Saturday, 24 students, six staff and eight relatives were released after being abducted on February 17 from the Government Science College Kagara in Niger state. In December, more than 300 schoolboys from a secondary school in Kankara, in northwestern Nigeria, were taken and later released. The government has said no ransom was paid for the students’ release.

The most notorious kidnapping was in April 2014, when 276 girls were abducted by the jihadist rebels of Boko Haram from the secondary school in Chibok in Borno state. More than 100 of those girls are still missing. Boko Haram is opposed to western education and its fighters often target schools.

Other organised armed groups, locally called bandits, often abduct students for money. The government says large groups of armed men in Zamfara state are known to kidnap for money and to press for the release of their members held in jail.

Experts say if the kidnappings continue to go unpunished, they may continue.

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Police confirm 317 schoolgirls kidnapped in night-time raid in Nigeria

“Sadly, this is only the latest in a series of abductions in the region. Over the past months, hundreds of children in Nigeria have gone through the trauma of being abducted by armed groups,” it said in a statement. Initial estimates had placed the number of abducted girls at 300.

“Two of my daughters aged 10 and 13 are among the about 300 girls the school authorities told us are missing,” parent Nasiru Abdullahi told DPA via telephone.

The sign post of Government Girls Junior Secondary School in Jangebe, following an attack by gunmen.Credit:AP

Over the course of several hours from 1am, the gunmen invaded the school, “gathered the girls together and marched them into the forest,” Jangebe resident Musa Mustapha said.

The armed group also attacked a nearby military camp and checkpoint, located about 200 meters from the school, said Mustapha, adding that the gunmen had operated in two groups, with one ambushing the army and the other invading the school.

Police in Zamfara state launched a search-and-rescue operations with the army to find the “armed bandits”.

“There’s information that they were moved to a neighbouring forest, and we are tracing and exercising caution and care,” Zamfara police commissioner Abutu Yaro said.

Zamfara’s information commissioner, Sulaiman Tanau Anka, said the assailants stormed in firing sporadically during the 1am raid.

“Information available to me said they came with vehicles and moved the students, they also moved some on foot,” he said.

School kidnappings were first carried out by jihadist groups Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province but the tactic has now been adopted by other militants in the north-west whose agenda is unclear.

They have become endemic around the increasingly lawless north, to the anguish of families and frustration of Nigeria’s government and armed forces. This was the third such incident since December.

The rise in abductions is fuelled in part by sizeable government pay-offs in exchange for child hostages, catalysing a broader breakdown of security in the north, officials have said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The government denies making such payouts.

Rage and frustration

Jangebe town seethed with anger over the abduction, said a government official who was part of the delegation to the community.

Young men hurled rocks at journalists driving through the town, injuring a cameraman, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The situation at Jangebe community is tense as people mobilised to block security operatives, journalists and government officials from getting access to the main town,” he said.

Nigerian soldiers drive past a secondary school in Kankara, Nigeria, in December. Rebels have abducted hundreds of school children in several attacks Nigeria.

Nigerian soldiers drive past a secondary school in Kankara, Nigeria, in December. Rebels have abducted hundreds of school children in several attacks Nigeria.Credit:AP

Parents also had no faith in authorities to return their kidnapped girls, said Mohammed Usman Jangebe, the father of one abductee.

“We are going to rescue our children, since the government isn’t ready to give them protection,” he said.

“All of us that have had our children abducted have agreed to follow them into to the forest. We will not listen to anyone now until we rescue our children,” Jangebe said, before ending the call.


Military shake-up

President Muhammadu Buhari replaced his long-standing military chiefs earlier this month amid the worsening violence.

Last week, unidentified gunmen kidnapped 42 people including 27 students, and killed one pupil, in an overnight attack on a boarding school in the north-central state of Niger. The hostages are yet to be released.

In December, dozens of gunmen abducted 344 schoolboys from the town of Kankara in north-west Katsina state. They were freed after six days but the government denied a ransom had been paid.


Islamic State’s West Africa branch in 2018 kidnapped more than 100 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi in north-east Nigeria, all but one of whom – the only Christian – were released. A ransom was paid, according to the United Nations.

Perhaps the most notorious kidnapping in recent years was when Boko Haram militants abducted 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno state in April 2014. The incident drew widespread global attention.

Many have been found or rescued by the army, or freed in negotiations between the government and Boko Haram, also for a hefty ransom, according to sources.

But 100 are still missing, either remaining with Boko Haram or dead, security officials say.


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Nigeria's Zamfara attack: Hundreds of schoolgirls feared kidnapped

A teacher in the north-western Zamfara state tells the BBC at least 300 girls are unaccounted for.

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Gunmen kidnapped and killed 11 miners in southern Pakistan

Gunmen in southern Pakistan have killed at least 11 workers at a remote coal mine, officials said Sunday.

The victims of the attack in Baluchistan province were from the minority Shiite Hazara community.

“Dead bodies of the 11 miners have been taken to a local hospital,” Khalid Durrani, a government official in the area, told AFP.

Ethnic Hazara make up most of the Shiite population in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan – the country’s largest and poorest region, rife with ethnic, sectarian and separatist insurgencies.

They are often targeted by Sunni militants, who consider them heretics, though it was unclear why the attackers targeted the coal mine specifically.

The attack, before dawn on Sunday, took place in the far-flung and mountainous Machh area while the miners slept, MR Durrani said, adding that four other miners were injured and were being treated at the local hospital.

A security official told AFP the attackers first separated the miners, tied their hands and feet, took them out into the hills and later killed them. 

Both Mr Durrani and the security official said the victims belonged to the Hazara community.

Mr Durrani said the mine was deep in the mountains.

It was not clear how exactly the miners were killed, he told AFP.

The assailants fled after the attack. Both officials said police and members of the local paramilitary force were on the scene, where a search operation had been launched to trace the attackers.

No group has claimed responsibility.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned “the killing of 11 innocent coal miners in Machh” as a “cowardly inhumane act of terrorism”.

Liaqat Shahwani, a spokesman for the provincial government, confirmed the incident and told private TV channel Geo that it was an act of terrorism.

Though Pakistan’s mines are notorious for poor safety standards, such attacks against miners are rare.

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More than 300 schoolboys kidnapped in Nigeria have been freed, says state governor

More than 300 schoolboys abducted last week by armed men in northwest Nigeria have been released, local authorities said Thursday.

Aminu Bello Masari, the Katsina State Governor, made the announcement on Nigerian state TV, NTA, from his office.

“At the moment 344 of the students have been released and handed over to the security operatives. I think we can say at least we have recovered most of the boys, if not all of them,” he said.

Arrangements are being made to transport them to Katsina, he added.

“The news reaching about an hour ago indicates that all of them have been recovered and they are on their way from the forest area to Katsina. By tomorrow we will get them medically examined and then arrangements will be on the way to reunite them with their families,” he said.

More than 800 students were at the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, when it was attacked last week by armed men. Hundreds escaped and it was believed there were more than 330 remaining in captivity.

He said the government will be “working with the police and also to engage private security firms to safeguard schools” to prevent the “ugly experience of the last six days”.

The news of the release of the schoolboys comes shortly after a video was released by the jihadist rebels of Boko Haram that purportedly shows the abducted boys. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the abduction.

In the more than six-minute video seen on Thursday by Associated Press journalists, the apparent captors told one boy to repeat their demands that the government calls off its search for them by troops and aircraft.

The video circulated widely on WhatsApp and first appeared on a Nigerian news site, HumAngle, that often reports on Boko Haram.

The government had said it was negotiating with the attackers.

For more than 10 years, Boko Haram has engaged in a bloody campaign to introduce strict Islamic rule in Nigeria’s north. Thousands have been killed and more than 1 million have been displaced by the violence.

Boko Haram has been mainly active in northeast Nigeria, but with the abductions from the school in Katsina State, there is worry the insurgency is expanding to the northwest.

Friday’s abduction is a chilling reminder of Boko Haram’s attacks on schools. In February 2014, 59 boys were killed when the jihadists attacked the Federal Government College Buni Yadi in Yobe State.

In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped more than 270 schoolgirls from a government boarding school in Chibok in northeastern Borno State. About 100 of those girls are still missing.

In 2018, Boko Haram Islamic extremists brought back nearly all of the 110 girls they had kidnapped from a boarding school in Dapchi and warned: “Don’t ever put your daughters in school again”.

Following Friday’s abduction, Katsina State shut down all its boarding schools to prevent other abductions. The nearby states of Zamfara, Jigiwa and Kano also have closed schools as a precaution.

Armed bandits have killed more than 1,100 people since the beginning of the year in Nigeria’s northwest, according to Amnesty International.

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Nigerian states close schools after students kidnapped in Katsina

Police at the school in Kankara. Many students tried to flee when gunmen stormed it

More states in northern Nigeria have ordered all schools to close following last week’s kidnapping of hundreds of pupils in Katsina state.

Kano, Kaduna, Zamfara and Jigawa have followed Katsina in closing schools following Friday’s attack.

The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has said it was behind the raid.

More than 300 children are still missing, raising fears for the safety of other schools, especially those in remote areas.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Teachers has threatened a nationwide strike unless the government urgently improves the security situation.

The union said pupils and teachers were now being actively targeted by gunmen and kidnappers. It said the attack was a sad reminder of previous raids – dozens of girls from Chibok, in northern Borno state, are still missing six years after they were abducted by jihadists.

Nigerian authorities say have been in contact with the kidnappers in the latest incident, but there are no details of the discussions.

The governor of Katsina state, Aminu Bello Masari, said on Twitter late on Monday: “Talks are ongoing to ensure [the pupils’] safety and return to their respective families.”

The jihadist group issued its claim of responsibility in a four-minute recording.

However, security and local sources cited by AFP news agency said Boko Haram had recruited three local gangs to carry out the attack.

One source said the children had been taken across the border into Zamfara state and divided among different gangs “for safe keeping”. Some of the gangs had since been in touch with authorities over the release of the students.

Boko Haram has previously targeted schools because of its opposition to Western education, which it believes corrupts the values of Muslims. The group’s name translates as “Western education is forbidden”.


Witnesses said the armed men came to the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara town at about 21:30 on Friday and that many students jumped the school fence and fled when they heard gunshots.

Many were tracked by the gunmen who tricked them into believing that they were security personnel, students who escaped said. Once the students were rounded up they were marched into the forest by the armed men.

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Nigerian military in firefight with gang which kidnapped students

Nigeria’s military has located and exchanged fire with gunmen who kidnapped scores of secondary school students in north-western Katsina state, the nation’s President says.

The gang, armed with AK-47s, stormed the Government Science secondary school in Kankara district at about 9:40pm on Friday, police and locals said.

A parent and school employee said roughly half of the school’s 800 students were missing.

But police and the military are still working to determine exactly how many students have been taken.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement the military had located the kidnappers in a forest and, aided by air support, was exchanging fire with them.

In the statement, he condemned kidnappers’ attack in his home state.

But Bint’a Ismail, a parent of one of the abducted children, criticised the Government.

“Sincerely speaking, we here in Katsina State are in a terrifying condition,” she said.

“We don’t see the value of the Government in fact.

“I have a younger brother and a child taken along by the kidnappers.

“I … have been in this school since dawn and yet there is no update [from the Government].”

Police who were at the scene on Friday exchanged fire with the attackers, allowing some students to run for safety, police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement.

Marwa Hamza, whose relatives also had children taken in the kidnapping, said she had been at the school at dawn waiting for news.

Police said they would deploy additional forces to support the search and rescue effort.

Gang attacks commonplace

Katsina is plagued by violence the Government attributes to bandits — a loose term for gangs of outlaws who attack locals and kidnap for ransom.

Attacks by Islamist militants are common in north-eastern parts of the country.

Violence and insecurity across Nigeria have enraged citizens, particularly in the wake of scores of farmers being killed, some beheaded, by Islamist militants in north-east Borno state late last month.

Mr Buhari, who arrived on Friday for a week in his home village some 200 kilometres from Kankara, was scheduled to brief the national assembly on the security situation last week but cancelled the appearance without an official explanation.


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Real-Life Drama: How Two Jewish Kids Were “Kidnapped” by Catholic Church


In 1938, right after the Nazi annexation of Austria, 37-year-old Dr. Fritz Finaly and his wife, Anna, 28, both Jews, fled Austria, attempting to reach South America. They failed and took refuge in a village near Grenoble, France. After the puppet state of Vichy was created, it was impossible to officially continue his medical practice; however, the couple managed to survive. In 1941, Anna gave birth to their first child, Robert and, in 1942, a second son, Gerard, was born. Despite the anti-Semitic campaign launched by the government of Marshal Philippe Pétain, under Nazi pressure, the couple circumcised both children, in accordance their religion.

However, Nazi anti-Jewish pressure on the Vichy government increased, and in February 1944, the couple entrusted their children to their friend, Marie Paupaert, out of fear of the Gestapo. Four days after secreting their boys with Paupaert, the Nazis deported the couple to Auschwitz, where they were both killed. Paupaert, fearing that the Nazis would seek the children, took the boys to the Notre Dame de Sion monastery in Grenoble, but the nuns claimed that they were unable to take care of small children and sent Robert and Gerard to a local kindergarten headed by a Ms. Antoinette Brun.

This story could be one of the many stories of Jewish families fleeing the Nazis. However, it reverberated in France in the early 1950s and appeared in a new light after secret Vatican archives were opened on 24 March 2019; documents from the papacy of Pius XII.

In February 1945, when France was liberated, Fritz’s sister, Margherita Finaly (who was hiding in New Zealand during those years), sought to take her nephews to their new homeland.

Margherita wrote to Brun, thanking her and asking for help in organizing Robert and Gerald’s trip. Brun was evasive in her response to Margherita’s proposal to remand the two children (at that time, they were four and three years old); she also said that the local judge had appointed her the boys’ guardian. Margarita didn’t give up and, together with her two sisters, one of whom lived in Israel and another in New Zealand, and her sister-in-law Auguste (the wife of her brother Richard, captured and killed by the Nazis in Vienna), wrote to the mayor of Grenoble. There was no answer, and Auguste, who lived in the UK, came to Grenoble to meet Brun. However, Brun refused to cooperate, showing hostility and saying she would never give the children back.

Then the real drama began, which can be traced, thanks to the Vatican archives. With the consent of the local bishop, Brun baptized the children, despite the fact that she knew of their Jewish origin, and that they would become “property” of the Roman Church and could never return to Judaism, having now become Catholics.

The Finaly family went to the French court, which ruled in July 1952 that Brun must hand the children over to their parents’ relatives. In response, the Notre Dame de Zion nuns hid the children, likely on the advice of Cardinal Gerlier, Archbishop of Lyon. In November 1952, the French court issued its official order, but the nuns addressed the Court of Appeal to review the ruling.

Soon the French press began to cover the story, and Cardinal Gerlier addressed the Vatican for instructions. The Congregation of the Roman Curia (now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) suggested waiting for the Court of Appeal’s ruling and, under any circumstances, in case of an unfavorable decision, “offering Ms. Brun to continue fighting, appeal to the Supreme Court of Cassation and use all legal means for the maximum possible suspension of any unfavorable ruling.”

Awaiting a new verdict, the nuns transferred the children to a Catholic school near the Spanish border and registered them under false names, securing the local bishop’s approval for the ruse. French justice, on 29 January 1953, arrested the monastery’s abbess. Other monks and nuns, considered accomplices, landed in prison as well. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith informed Pope Pius XII of what was happening, stressing that “the Jews, in alliance with the Freemasons and Socialists, had organised an international press campaign” regarding the matter.

The matter, brought to the public, was becoming uncomfortable for high-ranking Catholic Church officials. The Vatican, through the French embassy in Rome and the papal nuncio in Paris, sought an agreement to hand the boys over to their relatives, provided that “appropriate precautions would be taken so that they (the children) could not become Jews again.” Having been instructed by the Pope to monitor the matter, Cardinal Montini (later Pope Paul VI) wrote an encrypted telegram to the nuncio in Paris, saying “It’s good that there’s not a word about the Holy Chancellery (as the agreement’s initiator).” In other words, the Vatican had initially supported hiding the boys, but later shifted the responsibility to local church authorities.

Despite arrests and French court rulings, the boys were transported to a monastery in Spain and again hidden. In the meantime, Cardinal Montini, in a bid to win public approval, sent a draft article to the Vatican nuncio in Switzerland to appear in a local newspaper. The article, found in the Vatican archives, said that both boys considered themselves “refugees” and were claiming the right to asylum in Spain. It was April 1953, the boys were twelve and eleven years old.

Three months later, it was known that the boys were somewhere in Spain. French, Spanish and Israeli diplomacy entered the matter, resulting in the Spanish clergy officially announcing that “the boys would be hidden until there was a formal order from Rome.”

However, global pressure rose and the Vatican began to fear the negative impact to the Holy See’s image. Then L’Osservatore Romano published an article saying that, according to the French episcopate’s decision, the Finaly family should not be allowed to take the boys to Israel to make them Jews again. “These two boys… said they want to remain Catholics… profess and practice Catholicism.” However, public opinion in France was so strong that the Vatican was forced to return the two boys home. On 25 July, they finally arrived at the Tel Aviv airport.

However, in late September, Cardinal Montini, through the French ambassador to the Vatican, sent a letter of protest to the French government, stressing that both boys had been baptized and “their Catholic upbringing was endangered” by their trip to Israel.

When the boys grew into adulthood, Gerard became an Israeli army officer, and later worked as an engineer. Robert became a physician, like his father.

In defence of the Catholic cardinal, Montini, one might recall that, at the Second Vatican Council, as Pope Paul VI, he spoke about renewing the Church, and in 1965 published his Nostra Aetate*, which had been drafted by his predecessor, John XXIII, and titled “Decree on the Jews,” arguing that the Jewish religion and Jews, as well as Muslims, must be treated with full respect.

In August, Pulitzer Prize winner David Kertzer wrote about this subject in The Atlantic, noting also that each year, only 1,200 researchers from 60 countries are permitted access to Vatican archives.

*Nostra Aetate (Latin: “In our time”) is the declaration of the Second Vatican Council on the relation of the Church with non-Christian religions.


by Mario Sommossa 

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TN Minister Udumalai Radhakrishnan’s aide kidnapped at knife point, released

The incident took place at the MLA’s office in Udumalpet in Tiruppur district, on Wednesday morning

A five-member gang kidnapped a personal assistant of Minister for Animal Husbandry Udumalai K. Radhakrishnan at knife point from the MLA’s office in Udumalpet in Tiruppur district, on Wednesday morning. The gang later released the Minister’s aide in Dhali near Udumalpet.

The police said that Karnan, one of the personal aides of the Minister, was kidnapped by men who came to the office in a car around 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday. While Mr. Radhakrishnan, also the chairman of the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation, was not at the MLA office, a woman staff member was present with Kannan at the office. The gang did not harm her.

Surveillance camera visuals from the office showed four men coming out of white car parked outside the office, while the driver remained at the wheel. Three men went inside the office and a youth stood outside. The video showed the three men who went inside the office coming out with Karnan, after a minute. The men forcibly took Karnan inside the car and left the spot.

Tiruppur District (Rural) Superintendent of Police Disha Mittal and senior officers visited the MLA’s office soon after the incident. While the police were making efforts to trace the gang, the kidnappers left Karnan at Dhali, around 10 km away from Udumalpet.

A senior official said that special teams of the police were trying to trace the kidnappers.

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