National Catholic Register


Priests, Religious Live in Peril in Algeria

BY Robert Kelly

June 09, 1996 Issue | Posted 6/9/96 at 1:00 AM


Two years of heavy terrorist activity in Algeria have led to the deaths of 18 priests and Religious, 14 of them French:

May 8, 1994: Henri Vergé s, 64, a Marist Brother, and Paule-Héléne Saint Raymond, 67, Little Sister of the Assumption, both French, are assassinated in the Kasban at Algiers. The Armed Islamic Group (GIA) claims responsibility.

October 23, 1994: Two Spanish Augustinian Sisters, Ester Alonso, 45, and Caridad María Alvarez, 61, are shot at a church entrance in the Bab-el-Wed district of Algiers.

December 27, 1994: At Tizi Ouzou (Kabylie), the GIA, reportedly seeking revenge for the death of four of its members whom terrorists killed in an Air France airbus hijack attempt, assassinate four Missionaries of Africa. Three—Jean Chevillard, 69, Christian Cheissel, 36 and Alain Dieulangard, 75—are French; and one—Charles Deckers, 70—Belgian.

September 3, 1995: Two Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles, one French, Denise Leclerc, 65; the other Maltese of English origin, Jeanne Littlejohn, 62, are shot in the Belcourt district of Algiers.

November 10, 1995: One French Sister, Odette Prévost, 63, is killed and another is seriously wounded in a shooting incident in the Kouba district of Algiers.

March 27, 1996: Seven Trappist monks are kidnapped from their hilltop monastery, Notre Dame ’dAtlas in the Médéa region. It is not until April 18 that the GIAclaim they are holding the monks. On May 23 the GlA announce that the monks are dead.

Since October 1993, 116 non-Algerians have been killed, of whom 39 were French. An estimated 50,000 Algerians have been killed in the past four years.

—Robert Kelly