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Oman secures release of Indian priest kidnapped in Yemen

Father Tom Uzhunnalil was kidnapped in March 2016 at a care home in Aden [Twitter]

Date of publication: 12 September, 2017

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A Catholic priest kidnapped by the Islamic State group in Yemen has arrived in Muscat after Oman helped secure the release of the Indian cleric.
A Christian priest from India who was abducted by militants in Yemen last year was freed on Tuesday by his captors after an intervention by Oman, the country's state news agency have reported.

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was working for the Vatican, was kidnapped during an attack on an old people's home run by missionaries in the port city of Aden in March 2016.

His captors killed 16 people after storming into the building while posing as relatives of some of the home's residents.


A video released in May showed Uzhunnalil pleading for help while still in Yemen.

"They are treating me well to the extent they are able [to]," he said, looking visibly thinner and with a thick beard.

"My health condition is deteriorating quickly and I require hospitalization as early as possible," he added.

The priest, who is originally from the Indian state of Kerala, said his captors had made contact with India's government and the Catholic bishop of Abu Dhabi to list their demands.

"My dear family people, do what you can to help me be released. Please, please do what you can to help to get me released. May God bless you for that," he pleaded at the time.

According to Oman Observer, Uzhunnalil was transferred to Muscat after being freed.

"In compliance with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Oman in coordination with the Yemeni parties have managed to find a Vatican priest. He has been transferred to Muscat from where he will return to his home in Kerala," the Observer reported.

"Tom Uzhunnalil, a Vatican priest, expressed thanks to God Almighty and appreciation to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. He also thanked his brothers and sisters and all relatives and friends who called on God for his safety and release," the report added.

 

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