ICC Note: An interview with one of the last Christians to leave Tel Keppe, Iraq, a village just outside Mosul, reveals more detail about the dangers that ISIS poses to Iraq’s Christian communities. After fleeing their homes in August, some have attempted to return home only to find the roads and houses laden with explosives. Many Christians want to go home, but without a guarantee of their protection they fear that ISIS will return and perhaps this time they may not escape in time.
10/30/2014 Iraq (Christian Today) – A Christian who was one of the last to flee his village in the Nineveh Province of northern Iraq before Islamic State jihadists captured it in August claims that ISIS militants are setting up explosives inside of homes so that if residents are ever to return to the village, their houses will explode upon entering.
The testimony of a Christian native named Ayad from Tel Keppe, a village just outside of the city of Mosul, was featured in a recent video interview conducted by the World Council of Churches. Ayad’s testimony highlighted the timeline and details the of events that took place as the Islamic State militants captured his town on Aug. 6.
Ayad, who claims to be the last capable person to flee the village, said he eventually fled the town with no shoes on his feet, but emphasized that Christians are eager to return to their homes, as day by day, the Kurdish forces tell refugees what villages they have liberated and are safe to return to.
He shared that one man from his village was so eager to return, he went back to his house in Tel Keppe only to die at the hands of an ISIS explosive that was planted inside his home.
“Some of the houses in the village are burnt. Some are bombed and destroyed. Some are robbed. We heard of one man who tried to enter his house and as soon as he opened the door, the house exploded,” Ayad said. “As ISIS forces leave, they are planting explosions inside the houses so that if people return they will be victims of blasts.”
Ayad further explained that although he and other Christians can’t wait to hear the news that their villages have been liberated by Peshmerga fighters, they are skeptical to return until they have a guarantee for safety.
He also said ISIS has planted explosives along the road from Tel Esqof to Tel Keppe, making the 10-kilometer journey back to his village almost impossible.