Vatican Priest Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, abducted from Yemen, released after 18 months

Father Tom Uzhunnalil released from captivity, Sushma Swaraj confirms

Abducted Father Tom Uzhunnalil Released: Reports

Fr. Tom, a Salesian missionary, first garnered the world's attention when he was kidnapped March 4, 2016, during an attack on a Missionaries of Charity home in Aden, Yemen, that left 16 people dead, including four Sisters.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday has expressed happiness over the release of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Vatican priest hailing from India, who was abducted a year ago in Yemen. External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on September 12 on Twitter that Father Tom Uzhunnalil had been rescued but gave no details.

In a statement, the Vatican said Father Uzhunnalil would stay in Rome for a few days before returning home to India, and thanked those who worked for his release, especially the Sultan of Oman and his government.

An Indian Catholic priest abducted by Yemeni militants in Aden has been rescued 18 months after he was taken into Islamic State (Isis) captivity.

The governor had forwarded the plea of the priest's kin to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, with a note by him requesting to strengthen the search for the missing priest. Four nuns and 12 others were killed in the terrorist attack. After sustained diplomatic efforts by India, Father Tom was finally rescued with the help of Oman.

"My dear family people, do what you can to help me be released". Happy to note that the sustained diplomatic efforts by India on its own and along with the Oman and government have yielded results.

In December 2016, the priest, in a video, had appealed to the Indian government and Pope Francis to secure his release from his captors. Thomas Uzhunnalil belongs to Ramapuram village of Kerala's Kottayam district. "We had no news about him, except for the videos which were released", said Father Anil D'Sa, youth director for Karnataka. Speaking slowly in English, he said, "They are treating me well to the extent they are able".

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