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Iraqi Christian girl home after three years in ISIS’ hands

CHRISTINA EZZO ABADO
Safin Ahmed AFP
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Learning to be with parents after spending half her life in captivity

The world is in need of a little good news right now, and there seems to be some very good news coming out of northern Iraq.

Six-year-old Christina Nuh, who was kidnapped by the Islamic State group three years ago, is home again, as Iraq has retaken most of the city of Mosul from the terrorist organization.

Christina was reunited with her family on Friday, getting used to saying “mom” and “dad,” Reuters reported.

“The best day of my life is the day when Christina came back,” said her mother, Aida Nuh, on Saturday.

Dark circles around her eyes are evidence of sleepless nights since August 2014, when the militants snatched Christina from her, a few weeks after overrunning the town of Qaraqosh, 15 km (10 miles) southeast of Mosul.

“She stayed three years with the terrorists,” the girl’s mother said. “Of course she forgot who her mother is, who her father is, that we are her family, but she will learn again.”

ISIS kidnapped thousands of men, women and children from Iraq’s minorities, mainly Yazidis, Reuters said.

Christians who did not or could not escape in time were faced with an ultimatum — pay a tax for protection, convert to Islam, or die by the sword. Some, like Christina, were kidnapped.

Christian families who remained in Qaraqosh were forcibly displaced on Aug. 22, 2014. The militants took away Christina from the minibus which had driven them to the edge of Islamic State territory, after threatening Aida, who desperately resisted.

The family tracked their daughter though Arab friends, and finally they got a call telling them Christina had been found in Hayy al-Tanak, a poor neighborhood of Mosul.

“I’m with mum and dad,” said Christina, playing with a plastic toy, in a mobile home for displaced people in Ankawa, a Christian suburb of the Kurdish capital Erbil, east of Mosul.

The parents said they now hoped to emigrate, to put their ordeal behind them. That includes the family’s home in Qaraqosh, which was almost completely destroyed in the fighting to dislodge the militants.

 

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