A Catholic priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was abducted in March last year allegedly by terrorists in Yemen after an attack on a care home in the southern port city of Aden in 2016, has been freed and flown to Oman, the Oman government has revealed on Tuesday.
The release of the Indian Christian priest was reportedly secured by Oman, AFP news agency said. According to a release by the Oman government, the Sultanate helped to find and rescue the Vatican employee. However, details of the move are not available so far.
“In response to the Royal Orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and as per a request from the Vatican to assist in the rescuing of a Vatican employee, the concerned authorities in the Sultanate, in coordination with the Yemeni authorities, have managed to find a Vatican government employee. He was transferred this morning to Muscat in preparation for his return home,” the Oman government said in a statement online.
The ministry of external affairs has confirmed the report. “I am happy to inform that Father Tom Uzhunnalil has been rescued,” External Affairs Minister Suhma Sewaraj tweeted.
Uzhunnalil was abducted in March 2016 when four gunmen posing as relatives of one of the residents at the home burst inside, killing four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard. Father Tom was working as a priest at the Missionaries of Charity destitute home in the port city.
According to Times of Oman, Uzhunnalil expressed his thanks to “God Almighty, his brothers, sisters and all relatives and friends who prayed for his safety and release.”
In May, a video of the Indian priest was posted online and he was seen to be in poor health, calling for help.
He will be flown to Kerala later in the day.