Missionary attacked on 18 November in Suihari (Bangladesh) is out of danger but remains in hospital
Father Piero Parolari, a medical doctor and missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), was attacked by three men while he was riding his bicycle to his work at St Vincent Hospital, which mostly serves poor people from remote villages. He was shot and fell down unconscious.
The 64-year-old doctor missionary, who is currently recovering from the attack at the Combine Military hospital in Dhakam is now out of danger but has multiple injuries including three broken ribs.
The Bishop of Dinajpur, Sebastian Tudu, told Aid to the Church in Need: “The attackers targeted his head but missed it – the bullet hit his neck instead and passed through. It was a miracle, he was saved by God”. The military are not allowing any visitors into his room other than Father Parolari’s confreres, and they can only stay for five minutes. As soon as the doctors allow him to fly Father Parolari will be sent to Italy, his home country, for recovery.
Bishop Tudu informed ACN that after the attack the Bangladeshi government asked foreigners to avoid going out without informing the local police; the same warning has been issued to local priests and religious. On the day after the attack, a Bangladeshi affiliate of Islamic State claimed responsibility. However, the bishop stressed that the reasons behind this attack remain unknown.
Bishop Tudu pointed out that this is not the first time a missionary has been attacked. In the last 3 years there have been similar attacks in different mission stations. The priests and religious work with ethnic minorities and the last victims were mostly foreigners and a protestant Pastor. The bishop thinks these attacks on foreigners might be politically motivated. “With these attacks, these groups want to gain international attention. It seems they want to stir up instability in Bangladesh.”
Several priests and missionaries have received death threats. the Archbishop of Dhaka and other religious leaders who are worried about the increasing threat to Church personnel met the Home Minister to discuss this problem.
The Bishop of Dinajpur thanked everybody who has expressed their concern after the attack, as well as all support and prayers for the Church in Bangladesh. He asked friends and benefactors of the International Charity Aid to the Church in Need to keep on praying for the missionaries working for Bangladesh’s minorities. “God’s providence can help us bring peace and stability to our country. Please pray for us.”