Four Roman Catholic nuns were among the dead in an attack on a Yemeni retirement home run by nuns in the southern city of Aden on Friday, the Associated Press reported. Six unidentified armed men committed the assault, killing a total of 16 people, including the four Indian nuns.

Two of the armed men lay waiting outside while four of them went from room to room, handcuffing and then shooting the victims in the head. After hearing the shouting of a Yemeni guard to run, one nun survived by hiding in a refrigerator.

The retirement home had about 80 residents at the time of the shooting, and is run by the Missionaries of Charity congregation, which was established by Mother Teresa in 1950. This is not the first time Missionaries of Charity-run organizations have been attacked in the country. In 1998, three nuns were shot dead by a gunman in the Yemeni city of Hodeida.

Civil war in Yemen has ravaged and split the country into two factions. The southern region of the country is controlled by the recognized Yemeni government and backed by a Saudi-led coalition, which has committed to an air campaign against Shiite rebels in the northern region of the country.

The war has created a sense of lawlessness throughout the land and has enabled terrorist groups such as the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, and al Qaeda to gain footholds in various areas. ISIS has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the port city of Aden.


Unidentified arsonists in September set a Roman Catholic church on fire, and security officials said at the time it could have been caused by members of al Qaeda. Another Catholic church was blown up in Aden in December by unknown assailants, not long after ISIS soldiers killed Aden’s governor, Jaafar Mohammed Saad, Reuters reported.