Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil SDB kidnapped from a care home in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden past year has again appealed for help in a video recording carried by a Yemeni news website.
The priest from Kerala was kidnapped after an attack on a care home in Yemen’s Aden.
“It is a poor response and I am sad about that”, he said.
The video was posted on YouTube by the news site Aden Time May 8; the heavily bearded and very thin Father Uzhunnalil is shown seated with a cardboard sign in his lap with the date April 15, 2017. My health is deteriorating quickly and I require hospitalisation as early as possible.
He pleaded: ‘My dear family people, do what you can to help me be released. I received the message of concern that you sent me my dear family people.Thank you very much. May God bless you for that’. Speaking slowly in English, Fr. Tom said the Indian government has been contacted several times concerning his release.
In December 2016, the priest, in a video, had appealed to Pope Francis and the Indian government to secure his release from his captors.
It was initially rumored that the kidnapped priest was going to be executed on Good Friday 2016.
Father Tom, 58, who hails from Kerala, was abducted in March a year ago by a terror group. The Indian government has said in the past that it was in regular touch with Yemeni authorities and Saudi Arabia regarding the safe release of Uzhunnalil.
CNA notes that since his kidnapping, Salesians in the Bangalore province of India have made continued efforts for his safety and release, including holding a prayer vigil January 4 and a worldwide novena January 15-23.
During an all-out civil war in March 2015, Iran-aligned Houthis advanced on Aden, forcing government forces to flee. Both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have set up strongholds in the country amid the power vacuum.