Father denies Yemen murder victims were converting Muslims

Father denies Yemen murder victims were converting Muslims
Photo: DPA
The father of a German woman murdered in Yemen this week said on Friday the devoted Christians did not run afoul of Islamists looking for converts.

Speaking to the regional newspaper Westfalen-Blatt, he said his daughter Rita S. and her cousin Anita G. were not in the Arab land on a mission to proselytise.

“The knew that they could only help there. They didn’t spread the word of God,” he told the paper.

The two women and were found dead with a woman from South Korea on Monday. They belonged to a group of nine foreigners abducted last week in Yemen.

The father said the two victims, who had been students at a bible school in Lemgo in North Rhine-Westphalia for the past three years, traveled to Yemen on their own initiative for an internship abroad.

“None of us blame the bible school for anything,” said the father, adding that many had tried to dissuade them from going. “But they wanted to help the suffering people there.”

The still missing foreigners include a German couple and their three children and a British engineer. All lived in Saada province and worked for the Dutch aid organisation Worldwide Services at a local hospital.

Kidnappings of foreigners in Yemen are fairly common by Arab tribes in the region to put pressure on the government or demand ransom. But in the past they have often been released quickly following negotiations with the authorities.

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