2 LDS sister missionaries attacked in Kosovo

Posted at 4:54 PM, Nov 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-13 19:13:08-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Two American missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were attacked in Kosovo; it happened in the city of Pristina ten days ago, but news reports of the beating just surfaced late Wednesday afternoon.

The incident is being tied to terrorism and the suspects responsible have been arrested.

Fox 13 News has learned two sister missionaries were beaten by Albanians, who are also tied to plotting a terrorist attack. The LDS Church said the two young women are out of harm’s way and doing OK.

Kosovo is tucked away in the Eastern block of Europe; the country is no stranger to political strife. Video from 2004 shows the break-away Balkan territory suffering from bombings, protests and riots. Civil unrest was not uncommon during that time, and today there are growing concerns about the rise of Islamic extremism in the country.

Six Albanians suspected of plotting a terrorist attack were arrested ten days ago, and authorities believe two of them beat two sister missionaries in the capital city of Pristina on Nov. 3.

The LDS Church released a statement saying, “We can confirm two sister missionaries were beaten in Kosovo and have been moved out of the area.  Gratefully they are making a full recovery."

As portrayed in a recently released independent film, "The Saratov Approach", Mormon missionaries have been victim to danger before. It's the true story of two young men serving a mission in Russia 15 years ago, brutally beaten and kidnapped for ransom.

Following the deaths of 10 missionaries this year, the Church issued the following statement by a General Authority in September. "The Church does everything it can to ensure the safety of its missionaries, including providing training in personal safety."

Elder David F. Evans of the Quorum of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Church's missionary department went on to say, "The young missionary deaths do not represent a trend."

There are more than 77,000 missionaries serving around the world, according to the LDS Church. That's an increase of about 38 percent from 2012. These instances, like the sister missionaries being attacked in Kosovo, are rare.