Copt kidnapped for ransom in Assiut returns home

27-12-2016 09:41 PM

Nader Shukry


 

 

 

 

  

The Coptic pharmacist Amir Maurice, 35, who was kidnapped from his pharmacy in the village of Deir Tassa in Sahel Selim in Assiut, 350km south of Cairo, at 6pm on Wednesday 21 December, is now safely back home. 

Six masked men had broken into Dr Maurice’s pharmacy, seized him and forced him into a truck, and quickly drove off in the direction of the mountain east of Assiut. This barren, steep mountain is notorious for its difficult terrain, and is riddled with caves. It is a favourite hideout for outlaws escaping the police.

Dr Maurice obviously resisted his kidnappers; his eyeglasses were found broken and his cell phone had fallen on the floor in the pharmacy. He had clearly been outnumbered.

 

A few hours after the kidnap incident, the kidnappers contacted Dr Maurice’s family and demanded EGP 5 million in ransom. The family reported the matter to the police who quickly began taking action to identify the kidnappers and surround them. They caught a number of suspects who could have corroborated with the kidnappers, and who would have been pivotal in any process of handover of the ransom money. Finally, the kidnappers took Dr Maurice to a mountain road and left him there. Passers-by who found him contacted his family, and he was rescued.

 

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Dr Maurice says that he was kept blindfolded by his kidnappers who took him to some mountainous spot he could not identify. Even though he was constantly threatened he would be killed if his family did not come up with the ransom money, he was not ill-treated. He was given cheese and bread to eat; when he said he was observing the Advent fast and could not eat cheese he was given molasses and tahina [sesame paste] instead.

When the kidnappers decided to release Dr Maurice, they took him in a truck to a side road on the mountain and left him there. Before they set him free, they took his watch and the gold wedding ring he was wearing, and gave him EGP20 to get him home. He waited till a couple of men passed by, stopped them and asked to call his father on one of their cell phones. His father, Maurice Ishaq, directly drove there and rescued him. Dr Maurice has a 

his family did not come up with the ransom money, he was not ill-treated. He was given cheese and bread to eat; when he said he was observing the Advent fast and could not eat cheese he was given molasses and tahina [sesame paste] instead.

When the kidnappers decided to release Dr Maurice, they took him in a truck to a side road on the mountain and left him there. Before they set him free, they took his watch and the gold wedding ring he was wearing, and gave him EGP20 to get him home. He waited till a couple of men passed by, stopped them and asked to call his father on one of their cell phones. His father, Maurice Ishaq, directly drove there and rescued him. Dr Maurice has a family of a wife and three children.

 

Assiut police, who had been combing the terrain to find the kidnappers and had caught a number of outlaws in the process, said that they came upon stocks of arms and local-made explosives hidden in mountain hideouts.  

 

 

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