17-Oct-2017

Father Tom Uzhunnalil arrives from Vatican, meets PM

New Delhi, Sep 29: Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was recently rescued from the Islamic State’s captivity in Yemen, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi after returning to India from Vatican on Thursday. 
 
Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kottayam in Kerala but worked in Bengaluru before moving to Aden in Yemen, also met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on his return from Vatican. He was received by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, K J Alphons, after his arrival in New Delhi. 
 
“He (Prime Minister) was happy that I am freed. He asked me to take care of my health now,” Uzhunnalil told journalists after meeting Modi. 
 
The 57-year-old priest of the Society of Don Bosco in Bengaluru was kidnapped on March 4, 2016 when the IS terrorists stormed into the home run by the Missionaries of Charity at Aden in war-torn Yemen.
 
The terrorists killed 12 people, including four nuns, before kidnapping Uzhunnalil. Uzhunnalil was finally rescued on September 12, almost 18 months after he was kidnapped. 
 
“Since his abduction, the Ministry of External Affairs had been making all possible efforts to secure his safe release and was in constant touch with countries in the region which could help secure his release,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Thursday. 
 
Oman played a key role in rescuing Fr Uzhunnalil from the custody of the IS in Yemen. The Government of Oman made public his release from the custody of the kidnappers after he was flown to Muscat from Yemen on September 12. He later flew to Vatican and met Pope Francis.