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Missionaries Slain in Yemen Remembered

January 11, 2003

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Three medical missionaries slain in Yemen were remembered Friday as dedicated healers who ``gave of themselves freely, expecting nothing in return.″

Jibla Baptist Hospital administrator William E. Koehn, purchasing agent Kathleen A. Gariety and physician Martha C. Meyers were in a meeting Dec. 30 when a suspected Islamic militant burst in and shot them to death. The gunman then moved to another room where he shot and wounded pharmacist Donald W. Caswell.

The missionaries worked for the Richmond-based International Mission Board, which sponsored Friday’s memorial service at Grove Avenue Baptist Church.

Two large screens hanging from the sanctuary ceiling showed images of the three. Church officials estimated more than 900 people attended.

A regional leader of the Baptist mission in Yemen said that on the day before the slayings, widows and divorced Yemeni women brought donkeys to a hill overlooking the hospital. Koehn had the donkeys loaded with food.

Koehn was a ``plain-spoken man who spoke simply about things but whose life radiated love,″ said the official, identified only as John.

The Yemeni government has urged Americans in the country to be careful, and the last names of speakers were withheld for their protection, said board spokesman Mark Kelly.

A man identified as Bob, who served at the hospital with the slain workers, said the three ``gave of themselves freely, expecting nothing in return″ from the 40,000 Yemenis they treated each year.

Koehn, 60, of Arlington, Texas, had planned to retire in October after 28 years with the board. Gariety, 58, was from Wauwatosa, Wis., and Meyers, 57, was from Montgomery, Ala.

The alleged gunman, Abed Abdul Razak Kamel, passed a security checkpoint by concealing his weapon under loose-fitting clothes and making it look as if he were carrying a child. Yemeni security officials arrested Kamel and said he may belong to a terrorist cell linked to al-Qaida.

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