March 4, 2016 – ADEN: Gunmen attacked a care home run by missionaries in Yemen’s militant-plagued southern city of Aden Friday, killing 16 workers including four nuns, officials said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Aden has seen a surge in attacks by Daesh (ISIS) and rival Al-Qaeda.
The four attackers told a guard they were on a visit to their mother, then stormed into the home and opened fire with rifles, an official said. As well as the nuns, the dead included two Yemeni women staff, eight elderly residents and a guard.
The four gunmen entered the refuge operated by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Aden’s Sheikh Othman district, killing a guard before tying up and shooting employees, officials told AFP.
Screams of elderly residents echoed from the home during the shooting rampage, witnesses said.
They recounted seeing the bodies of slain workers with their arms tied behind their backs scattered on the bloodstained floor as the aged residents cried out in fear.
The four foreign nuns killed were identified as two Rwandans, a Kenyan and an Indian, according to the Vatican missionary news agency Fides, which said the mother superior managed to hide and survive.
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Apart from the foreigners, the rest of those killed were Yemenis working at the facility, officials said.
In addition, an Indian priest was missing, Fides said, citing Bishop Paul Hinder, the apostolic vicar of southern Arabia.
The assailants tied up their victims in different parts of the building before opening fire on them, said a security source cited by the official sabanews.net website.
“We have never witnessed such a brutal crime,” he said, adding that the killing spree lasted for one hour.
“I went out for Friday prayers. When I came back, I found all my friends dead,” one resident said.
It was not the first deadly attack on the order in Yemen.
In 1998, three of its nuns were shot dead in western Yemen by a psychiatric patient who had volunteered to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims in 1992 before returning to the Arabian Peninsula country.The latest attack comes with Yemen’s internationally recognized government grappling with an Iran-backed rebellion on one side and a growing militant presence on the other.
Prime Minister Khalid Bahah said security forces were hunting down the “terrorists” who carried out the attack.
One official said the attackers were “extremists” and blamed Daesh.
Further east, a suspected drone strike hit a vehicle carrying Al-Qaeda militants in Shabwa province, killing four, government sources said Friday.