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ICC Note: The past two weeks have seen a number of Christians, including children kidnapped in the Minya province of Upper Egypt. Christians are routinely taken and held for ransom. The security forces in the region have been ineffective in protecting Christians from being kidnapped or in working to see the victims safely returned to their families. There is a need for an intentional effort by the police and military structures to put an end to the criminal gangs that are targeting the Christian community.  
By Kaitlyn Speer
02/15/2014 Egypt (World) – Kerolas Adel Abdel-Malak, a 25-year-old Christian from Egypt, was on his way home from Minya City last week when he was kidnapped at gunpoint and later held for ransom.
Malak’s attack is the most recent in a long list of Christian kidnappings in Minya province in Upper Egypt, 125 miles south of Cairo. At least eight similar cases were reported in the last two weeks alone.
“Minya has probably the highest percentage of Christians in the country,” said Todd Daniels, a regional spokesman for International Christian Concern. “In [Minya] province and villages, where most of the kidnappings happen, there is a lot of poverty.”
While Christians make up an estimated 50 percent of Minya’s residents, they only amount to about 10 percent of Egypt’s overall population.
In Upper Egypt, the security structures are much weaker than in Cairo. Police stations are often overrun, and many criminal gangs are allowed to operate with impunity. Virtual lawlessness leaves Christians vulnerable to kidnappings. With little help from local police, many people are left to live in fear.
“Christians have been targeted largely because they view Christians as wealthy,” Daniels told me.
According to Daniels, 69 Christian kidnappings were documented last year in the Minya province. In 61 cases, kidnappers got a ransom in exchange for releasing their victims. Ransom demands have ranged from $7,000 to $500,000.
“Having those numbers really does show it’s really for the money,” Daniels added.
Based on the cases reported by International Christian Concern, the number of kidnappings remains unchanged from last year, and young people are now being targeted more frequently

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