May 21, 2010
Daughters of German Protestant missionaries kidnapped in Yemen returning home after year in captivity, two year-old brother presumed murdered
The Middle East press is reporting that two German girls kidnapped in Yemen a year ago have been freed and are on their way home. The girls, four and six (considered marriage age in Yemen), are lucky to be alive as their two year-old brother is presumed dead. Three others were who were captured at the same time were found executed, and a fourth adult is also presumed dead.
The two daughters of the German family kidnapped in Yemen nearly a year ago and rescued by Saudi forces on Monday now speak virtually only Arabic, their uncle said, indicating they have been separated from their parents for months.
Lydia and Anna Hentschel, who are six and four, were flown back to Germany in a military plane on Wednesday after being freed in a Saudi operation in the border region between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
The fate of their parents, Johannes and Sabine Hentschel, remains unknown. The devout Christians had worked in a Protestant-run hospital in Sa’ada in the north-west of the country since 2003. Their son, Simon, who would be less than two years old, is believed to have died, said their uncle, Reinhard Pötschke, a priest. He said that only Lydia still speaks a little German.
The family was seized by gunmen on June 12 while on an excursion with two female German Bible students, a British engineer and a female South Korean teacher. The two students and the teacher were found three days later, executed with shots to the head. The fate of the engineer is unknown.
But don't get too excited, because it seems that the kidnappings and murders were their own fault for daring to breath word of their Christian faith:
The brutality and length of this hostage drama may be explained by media reports that Mr Hentschel had been trying to convert Muslims to the Christian faith.
Der Spiegel, a leading German news magazine, reported that Johannes Hentschel had been threatened after he spoke to a Muslim man about religion in a teahouse in Sa’ada. In a letter sent to friends in Germany, Mr Hentschel had said: “I encouraged him to read the Bible,” Der Spiegel reported.
The man’s brother later approached Mr Hentschel in the hospital where he worked and had threatened to complain to religious authorities about him. Mr Hentschel appears to have paid little attention to the warning. “Pray for his faith,” he said in his letter, “and that he comes to the faith and accepts Jesus as his lord.”
German authorities believe that the Germans in Sa’ada were regarded as Christian missionaries. Missionary writings were found in the belongings of the Bible students who were shot dead.
Meaning: the missionaries working at the Protestant hospital had it coming. The Middle East media at work, ladies and gentlemen.