BY Ian Dunn | September 12 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

28 Father Thomas Uzhunnalil

Indian priest kidnapped by Islamists in Yemen freed after 18 months

Kidnapped Indian priest Fr Tom Uzhunnalil has been freed from captivity and flown to Oman, the country’s government has said.

Fr Tom was kidnapped when his care home in the Yemeni city of Aden was attacked in March 2016. Four gunmen posing as relatives of one of the residents killed four Indian nuns, two Yemeni staff members, eight elderly residents and a security guard.

In May this year, a video was posted online showing the priest in poor health, calling for help.

“My health condition is deteriorating quickly and I require hospitalisation as early as possible,” he said.

Now the Omani government reports that it has found and freed Fr Tom.

The sultanate said in a statement: “In response to the Royal Orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and as per a request from the Vatican to assist in the rescuing of a Vatican employee, the concerned authorities in the Sultanate, in coordination with the Yemeni authorities, have managed to find a Vatican government employee.

“He was transferred this morning to Muscat in preparation for his return home.”

Cardinal Baselios Cleemis  of the  Syro-Malankara Catholic Church said , “God has answered our prayers. We thank the Government of India. The Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs took personal interest in securing the release of Fr Tom.”

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