By Dibie Ike Michael with Reuters – Published by Africa News –
Ten-year-old Egyptian schoolboy Mina Habib recounts the day Islamist gunmen killed his father in an attack on a group of Coptic Christians traveling to a monastery in Minya, southern Egypt last month.
The boy rarely leaves his house these days. He is still recovering from seeing Islamist gunmen kill his father for being a Christian.
In an attack claimed by Islamic State, gunmen ambushed a group of Coptic Christians killing 29 and wounding 24, with Mina’s father Adel among the dead.
We saw dead people, just dumped on the ground, these people were the ones in the patrol cars, they (attackers) dumped their bodies.
Mina is receiving therapy at a local church, in the absence of any treatment from the government. His brother Marco, 14, who also escaped the attack, visits a monastery to read the Bible as a form of therapy.
“We saw dead people, just dumped on the ground, these people were the ones in the patrol cars, they (attackers) dumped their bodies, their cars were stopped, and we saw the other bus hit in front of us. They were going to kill everyone on the bus until they heard the sound of a car behind them. They got off the bus and asked my father for his national identification then told him to recite the Muslim profession of faith. He refused, said he was Christian. They shot him and everyone else with us in the car,“said an attack witness, Mina Habib.
Mina said there were around 15 gunmen. They asked his father for identification and to recite the Muslim profession of faith, and when he refused, saying he was a Christian, they shot him and everyone else in the car. Mina does not know why he and Marco were spared when other children were shot.
“Our Muslim neighbours say ‘you chose Sisi’ but ever since he came to power we are the ones who have suffered, not them. Churches and people have been attacked, people, girls, and children have been kidnapped, we are suffering. You are a Muslim, have you ever heard of a mosque bombing, even when the mosque is full of people from the inside and outside, nobody ever saw a mosque under attack.” said an Mina’s mother, Hanaa Yousef.
Coptic Christians, who make up 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 92 million, say they have been persecuted for years. In recent months attacks have increased, leaving about 100 dead.
Egypt’s Copts support Sisi, who has vowed to crush Islamist militants and protect Christians. He declared a three-month state of emergency after church bombings in April.
But many Christians feel the state is failing to protect them.
Photo credit: Hanaa Youssef and Mina Habib, the widow and son of a man who was killed in a militant attack against Coptic Christians last month, hold the victim”s portrait in Minya, Egypt June 8, 2017. Picture taken June 8, 2017. (PHOTO: REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY)