via Associated Press

Death of Father Jean-Pierre Schumacher, last survivor of the Tibhirine massacre (Photo by Jean-Pierre Schumacher taken in December 2018 by AP Photo / Anis Belghoul)

DEATH – Father Jean-Pierre Schumacher, the last survivor of the massacre of the Algerian Trappist monastery of Tibhirine in 1996, died this Sunday, November 21 in a monastery in central Morocco, AFP learned from a Church official Christian in Morocco.

“He (Jean-Pierre Schumacher) died this morning in serenity at the monastery of Our Lady of the Atlas, in Midelt. He is a simple and fraternal man who knew that his mission was to bear witness to what he lived in Tibhirine, ”Father Daniel Nourissat, vicar of Saint-Pierre Cathedral in Rabat, told AFP.

Jean-Pierre Schumacher, 97, was the last survivor of the mutiny perpetrated against seven Trappist monks from the Tibhirine monastery, kidnapped and murdered in 1996 during the civil war in Algeria. Their story was notably told in the film Men and gods by Xavier Beauvois, awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

Doubts about the official thesis

The circumstances of this massacre have still not been clarified. Only their decapitated heads had been found on a road, two months after the kidnapping.

The official thesis put forward at the time by Algiers described an abduction and then an assassination, claimed by Islamists from the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in the midst of the civil war, but doubts remain about the possible involvement of the Algerian military secret services.

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Four years after the tragedy, Jean-Pierre Schumacher moved to Morocco where he became the prior of a small community of Trappist monks of the Cistercian Order in the Moroccan Atlas.

“He often said that his survival was a call from God to bear witness, something he did all his life,” says Father Daniel Nourissat. Another survivor of the tragedy, Father Amédée Noto, died in 2008. Monk Jean-Pierre will be buried in Midelt on Tuesday, according to Father Nourissat.

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