At least seventeen people, including four Catholic nuns, were killed on Friday, March when armed men attacked a care home for the elderly run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.
The group of gunmen raided the home for the elderly located in the Sheik Osman district of Aden. According to eyewitness reports, two gunmen encircled the facility while at least four raided the building housing over 80 patients.
The gunmen then proceeded to separate four nuns at gunpoint before opening fire on them. Two of the four slaughtered nuns were Rwanda, one from India and another from Kenya. One nun managed to survive the attack by hiding inside a refrigerator.
After killing the nuns, the gunmen then moved from room to room handcuffing the patients and shooting them in the heads. Six Ethiopians, a Yemeni cook and Yemeni guards were also killed.
The dead and injured were taken to the city’s state-run Republican hospital and a health centre run by Medecins Sans Frontieres. A doctor at the Republican hospital told the media that some of the dead had arrived with their hands tied behind their backs. Most had been shot in the head.
Paramedics said they expected the death toll to rise as some of the wounded had serious injuries. Officials and medics were unable to provide a figure for the number of people injured in the attack.
There were about 80 elderly residents at the home, which was established in 2000 by Missionaries of Charity, a religious order set up by Mother Teresa. Sunita Kumar, a spokeswoman for the order in the Indian city of Kolkata, said its members were “absolutely stunned” at the killing.
"The sisters were to come back but they opted to stay on to serve people in Yemen." she said.
Missionaries of Charity, which also runs homes for the elderly in Taez, Hodeidah and Sanaa, is the only organisation to provide such a service in Yemen. Local religious leader Sheikh Mohammed Mahboob blamed the Aden attack on ISIL, which considers Christians to be heretics.
"The Islamic fighters have a wrong understanding of Islam" he said.
So far no group has claimed responsibility for Friday's attack, but reports on the ground indicate that the slaughter was carried out by Islamic State terrorists or their affiliates.
Yesterday, March 5, the Vatican condemned the killings. In a statement relased on behalf of Pope Francis , the Vatican's Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, said the pontiff was "shocked and profoundly saddened by the massacre.