Four colleagues of SOS Chrétiens d'Orient, a French NGO that helps Christians in the Middle East, have been missing in Baghdad since January 20, 2020.
Among the missing are three French nationals and one Iraqi. They are “experienced colleagues who have worked with us for years,” Benjamin Blanchard, managing director and co-founder of the SOS Chrétiens d'Orient association, told reporters on January 24. The volunteers were based in Ankawa, a Christian suburb of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. They were in Baghdad to renew their visas and register the association with the Iraqi authorities.
No ransom demand has been made “for the moment,” said the director during a press conference, adding that SOS Chrétiens d'Orient was only formally registered with the autonomous regional government of Kurdistan, but not yet with the federal government in Baghdad.
“We are very worried, they are our friends. All we want to do is find them alive,” says Pierre-Alexandre Bouclay, communications director for SOS Chrétiens d'Orient. “Pray, pray, pray!” Charles de Meyer, president of the association, wrote on Twitter on January 24.