ŞIRNAK, Turkey – In the empty Chaldean village of Onbudak ((Işşi) treasure hunters keep targeting the only church of the village. According to Yeni Yaşam Gazetesi the base and wall of the church have now been severely damaged or destroyed by treasure hunters in search of valuables and relics. Onbudak is located in the mountainous Uludere district in Turkey’s southeaster Şırnak province, and only a couple of miles from the Iraqi border.
The Chaldean village, part of Şenoba municipality, was evacuated in 1984 and most of the Chaldean villagers immigrated to France. Some went to Iraq. The village was resettled by some non-Chaldeans between 1985 and 1993 who kept the church building intact and used it as a mosque for worship. The latest settler of the village said to Yeni Yaşam Gazetesi that after he left in 1993, treasure hunters have from time to time dug or destroyed the church property in search of valuables.