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source http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/photo-fr-tom-uzhunallil-feared-captive-yemen-emerges-family-relieved-he-alive-46803
The photo shows the once clean-shaven priest, now looking weary and tired, with a long beard.
TNM Staff| Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 10:14

Months after he was feared abducted by ISIS or some such terror group in Yemen, a picture of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Catholic priest who hails from Kerala has been posted on Facebook.

Though the priest had gone missing in March this year, the government had inisisted that he was safe.

While it is unclear as to who posted the photo on Facebook, the status claims that an 'Entreaty' or plea would be uploaded soon.

The photo shows the once clean-shaven priest, now looking weary and tired, with a long beard.

Advocate, Augustine, his relative told TNM, "Many people in the family have checked the picture and feel it is father Uzhunnalil's. This is the first time such a picture has come. The only solace is that we know he is alive."

Augustine also said that the government had told them it was unsure, as to who to hold talks with in Yemen.

"There is no government there and so our government is finding it tough to hold talks. We don't believe he has been taken away by Islamic State, but perhaps by a smaller group. The caption on the picture says his plea would be posted soon, waiting for that," he added.

Tom Uzhunnalil had gone missing in Yemen after the Islamic State militant group attacked a care home run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.

Gunmen had stormed the refuge for the elderly earlier in April and killed a Yemeni guard before tying up and shooting 15 other employees.

Four foreign nuns, including an Indian, working as nurses were among those killed. 

Father Tom was captured from the southern Yemeni city of Aden.

Following reports that the priest was dead, Father Gyanprakash Topno, spokesman of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), along with a five-member delegation, met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who strongly refuted reports that the priest was not alive.

"Father Tom is safe and efforts are on for his release as early as possible," Topno said, quoting the minister who also told the delegation that the "government will facilitate the priest's safe return to India".

  • ?
    anonymous 2016.07.22 19:47

    Tuesday 19th July a picture of Fr Tom Uzhunnalil has been posted on Facebook. Fr Tom had been abducted on March 4th in Aden, in Yemen.


    We have consulted the Provincial Secretary of the Salesian Province of Bangalore, who is the official spokesperson of the Province, and the office of Mons. Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, in Abu Dhabi. According to their own information, there are no news or further developments about the situation of Fr Tom. In case anything new will occur Mons. Hinder will promptly notify it.


    We do not know who is behind the Facebook page with the image of Fr Tom, which presently has been cleared of all its contents. It is not sure even if that picture was authentic; the Provincial Secretary, after consulting his confreres in the Province, has doubts about the authenticity of that picture.


    The appearing of that photograph, while raises concern about the unknown situation of Fr Tom, is gathering again public attention on this sad event, after some weeks of silence the media. Let us keep our conscience alert about the situation of persecuted Christians is many countries and particularly about Fr Thomas, with the remembrance in prayer and keeping active those initiative still possible, aimed to get information and re-establish a contact.


    The Salesian Congregation keeps following the unfolding of the situation and carries on its commitment to be close to the family of Fr Tom and to collaborate with the Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia and with the Indian Government.


    Fr Francesco Cereda

    Vicar of the Rector Major


    http://sdb.org/en/vicar-rector-major/1610-rm-vicar-documents/4853-rmg-communique-about-fr-tom-uzhunnalil



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