Captured in an old age home in Yemen, Father Tom Uzhunnalil ‘could be released soon’, said a Catholic group quoting Swaraj
New Delhi: A priest from Kerala, abducted by gunmen in Yemen last month, is safe and could be released soon, a Catholic group said yesterday, quoting Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Father Tom Uzhunnalil was captured when armed men attacked an old people’s home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in southern Yemeni city of Aden, killing 16 people, including four nuns, one of them an Indian, on March 4.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) said a delegation met Sushma Swaraj who said the government was working to secure the priest’s safe return. “She has assured us Father Tom is safe and negotiations are on for his release which could happen very soon,” said Father Joseph Chinnaiyan, deputy secretary of the CBCI.
Media reports last week said the priest was killed by ISIS terrorists on Good Friday, although no one has claimed responsibility for last month’s attack. However, Father Chinnaiyan said the reports of the priest’s killing on Good Friday were inaccurate. Kerala Chief Minister of Kerala Oommen Chandy had earlier said the priest is reportedly safe.
”According to the information we are now beginning to receive, the Father seems to be safe and we are hoping for the same. We have been reaching out to Union Minister Sushma Swaraj for her intervention and have shared with her some leads we received from Abu Dhabi church congregation regarding father Tom,” Chandy had said. Swaraj had assured that the government was “making all efforts to secure his release.”