India says efforts on to free priest abducted in Yemen

NEW DELHI, INDIA: India said on Tuesday it will “spare no effort” to secure the release of a priest kidnapped in Yemen, after video footage showing him pleading for help was circulated on social media.


Indian priest Thomas Uzhunnalil was abducted during a deadly attack by Islamist militants on a care home operated by the Missionaries of Charity group in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden in March.

The five-minute video, the provenance of which is unknown, shows him appealing to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pope Francis to secure his freedom.

“My captors have made many contacts with the government of India to get me released. I am very sad that nothing has been done seriously in my regard,” Uzhunnalil said.

In response, India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj a three part tweet without divulging details.

Joseph Chinnayyan, the deputy secretary general of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, said it was not possible to verify the authenticity of the video.

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“Even if it is authentic, whatever he is saying is under duress. We are certain that he is still in captivity and efforts are on to free him,” Chinnayyan said.

The video was posted on social media sites Youtube and Facebook on Monday but it is not clear when it was shot.

In it the 56-year-old priest said his nationality remained the main reason that world leaders remained unsympathetic.

“If I were a European priest, I would have been taken more seriously by authorities and people would have got me released,” he said.

Yemen is in midst of a civil war and has seen a growing presence of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants.



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