Fate of kidnapped Salesian priest in Yemen still unknown

The fate of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Salesian priest kidnapped in Yemen, remains unknown even after media reports suggested that Islamist militants crucified the priest on Good Friday.

“I have no confirmation that anything happened Good Friday,” Bishop Paul Hinder, head of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, told the Catholic News Service.

The bishop said he has “strong indications” that Father Uzhunnalil “is still alive in the hands of his kidnappers.”

Father Uzhunnalil, an Indian, was kidnapped on March 4 from the home for the aged and disabled run by the Missionaries of Charity in Aden, Yemen. Four Missionaries of Charity and 12 others were murdered in the attack.

Media reports during the Holy Week said Islamic State militants planned to crucify Father Uzhunnalil on Good Friday.

The Salesian order in India, however, said there was no evidence to support the reports and asked people to refrain from “spreading false rumors.”

The Indian government said it was still actively trying to rescue the priest.

“We are making all efforts to secure his release,” said Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj in a tweet.


Catholic Herald
Catholic News Service
The Independent
Image: UCAN

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