Minya (Agenzia Fides) – Four young Coptic Christians in the province of Minya, Upper Egypt, were kidnapped along the country road they were walking to reach the ancient church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the village of Jabal al-Tair, in the city of Salamut. This was reported by Egyptian sources consulted by Agenzia Fides.
As reported by "Coptstoday" website, the families of the kidnapped young Christians have been contacted by the kidnappers who have demanded a ransom of 600 thousand Egyptian pounds (almost 70 thousand euro) for their release.
There was even a 5-year-old among the four kidnapped, aged between 20 and 35 years of age at the time of the kidnapping, who was later released.
The church of the Virgin Mary in Jabal al-Tair was founded around 328 AD by order of Queen Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, and is one of the most popular and frequented shrines by the Coptic faithful. In Upper Egypt, the systematic kidnapping of persons belonging to the Coptic Christian community has long assumed the features of a real criminal business: according to data provided to the local media by Coptic Mina Thabet, activist of the Maspero Youth Union and founder of the popular initiative Party, in the governorate of Minya alone the total amount of money paid to pay the ransom of Christians kidnapped, from January 2011 to December 2014 exceeded the figure of 120 million Egyptian pounds, equal to more than 16 million euro. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 20/05/2015)