Indian Govt: Catholic Priest Kidnapped in Yemen Could be Released Soon

Published 25 August 2017  |  
Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, abducted in Yemen in March, pleads for his release in a video uploaded the day after Christmas 2016.

A Catholic priest kidnapped in Yemen last year is alive and could be freed soon, reported a Salesian religious order referencing India's Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj.

During recent talks with a delegation from the Salesians of Don Bosco congregation, when requested for the swift release of fellow Salesian Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, who was kidnapped in Yemen on March 4, 2016, Sushma Swaraj told the group that the Indian govt is working hard to free the captive priest.

She also reportedly told the information service that securing Uzhunnalil's freedom is among the highest priorities of the Indian govt, according to Crux.

Indian Salesians' news portal, Bosco Information Service, said that she feels for the "unimaginable trauma and suffering" Uzhunnalil has had to endure.

Uzhunnalil was kidnapped after suspected Islamic terrorists attacked a home for elderly run by the Missionaries of Charity nuns in Yemen city of Aden. The attackers shot dead 16 people, including four nuns and kidnapped the priest, who served as chaplain of the house.

The priest belongs to Salesians of Don Bosco's Bangalore province.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping Uzhunnalil, but it's widely believed Islamic militants are responsible for it.

In May, a video message was released in which a thin-looking Uzhunnalil begged Pope Francis to personally intervene and expressed frustration that the church had not done more to secure his freedom.

Swaraj told the Salesians that the Indian govt has listed Uzhunnalil's release as its highest priority. But she hasn't said what the govt was doing to secure the priest's freedom.


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