Yet another Coptic Christian child was recently kidnapped in Egypt.  Thirteen-year-old Cyril Rif‘at Fayiz was abducted in the Minya district by “unknown persons” who later called the child’s parents demanding one million Egyptian pounds, nearly the equivalent of $150,000 USD.

This phenomenon—kidnapping and holding Coptic children captive for large ransoms—has become a regular feature of the Egyptian landscape, particularly in Minya, Upper Egypt.  A few examples follow:

  • August 2013: Copts held a funeral for Wahid Jacob, formerly a young church deacon.  He too was kidnapped by “unknown persons” who demanded an exorbitant ransom from his family—1,200,000 Egyptian pounds (equivalent to $171,000 USD).  Because his family could not raise the sum, he was executed—his body dumped in a field where it was later found.  The priest who conducted his funeral service said that the youth’s body bore signs of severe torture.
  • May 2013: After 6-year-old Cyril Joseph was kidnapped and the family paid ransom, he was still killed.  In the words of the Arabic report, the boy’s “family is in tatters after paying 30,000 pounds to the abductor, who still killed the innocent child and threw his body in his sewer system, where the body, swollen and moldy, was exhumed.”
  • April 2013: Ten-year-old Sameh George, another church deacon in Minya, was likewise abducted by “unknown persons” while on his way to church to participate in Holy Pascha prayers leading up to Orthodox Easter. His parents said that it was his custom to go to church and worship in the evening, but he failed to return and they received an anonymous phone call from his kidnappers informing them that they had the Christian child in their possession and would execute him unless they received 250,000 Egyptian pounds in ransom money… Click for more