ROME – India’s Foreign Minister tweeted out on Tuesday that Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a missionary priest kidnapped by Islamic militants in Yemen in September 2016 at a home for the elderly in the southern port city of Aden, has been released.
Uzhunnali was kidnapped during an attack on the missionary compound in which gunmen posing as relatives of one of the residents at the home burst inside, killing sixteen people, including four Indian nuns belonging to the Missionaries of Charity, the order of founded by Mother Teresa.
According to reports, Uzhunnali is presently in Oman, and will be flown back to Kerala in India later on Tuesday. Apparently, he was set free after the intervention of the Oman foreign ministry.
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who insisted during recent months that the Indian government knew who was holding Uzhunnalil and was engaged in negotiating for his freedom, tweeted out Tuesday that the priest had been released.
“I am happy to inform that Fr Tom Uzhunnalil has been rescued,” she said.
A daily newspaper in the Gulf country, Oman Observer, reported that the priest thanked God Almighty and expressed gratitude to Sultan Qaboos of Oman for securing his release. Uzhunnalil reportedly also thanked his brothers and sisters and all relatives and friends.
In a video released last May, apparently by his abductor, Uzhunnalil pleaded for help. “They are treating me well to the extent they are able,” he said, speaking slowly in English, and seeming obviously emaciated.
Read more at Crux.