A video of an Indian priest kidnapped by ISIS surfaced yesterday where the priest begged international governments and the Catholic church to secure his release. Last March, the priest from Kerala, India was kidnapped in a raid on a Catholic run charity home for the elderly in Yemen. After the video was released, the Indian government said that they were doing everything they could to secure the release of the priest. Will India and the international community do more to secure the release of this priest?
12/27/2016 India (Crux) – After a video surfaced featuring a Catholic priest from India kidnapped by Islamic militants in Yemen pleading with both the Indian government and his fellow Christians, including Pope Francis, to do more to secure his release, Indian officials have insisted that they’re doing everything they can.
The video of Father Thomas Uzhunnalil was uploaded to Facebook. He was abducted March 4 when four gunmen attacked a Missionaries of Charity-run retirement home in Aden, the provincial capital of Yemen, killing 16 people, including four Missionary of Charity sisters.
The Vicariate of Southern Arabia, which includes Yemen, also released a statement on Monday saying,” Even though we have no information about Fr. Tom’s present whereabouts, we have strong indications to believe that he is still alive.”
“We thank all those around the world who have given us their support during these difficult months,” the statement said. “We request the faithful not to be drawn into a cycle of disturbance and spreading unconfirmed reports on social media but to continue their prayers for Fr. Tom as the channels try to secure his release.”
In the video, Uzhunnalil said “several months have gone by and my captors have made many contacts with the government of India to get me released.”
“If I were a European priest, I would have been taken more seriously. I am from India. I am perhaps not considered of much value,” Uzhunnalil said in a weak voice in the video, which was aired by news channels in Kerala in southern India, traditionally the country’s Christian stronghold.
“Dear Pope Francis, dear Holy Father, as a father please take care of my life. I am very much depressed. My health is deteriorating,” he said in the video, released the day after Christmas.