Abducted Kerala Catholic priest rescued in Yemen

Thiruvananthapuram/ New Delhi, Sept 12: A Catholic priest from Kerala, Tom Uzhunnallil, abducted by terrorists in Aden in March last year, has been rescued from captivity from an undisclosed location in Yemen, thanks to the intervention of the Oman government. Uzhunnallil, who belongs to Kottayam district, was brought to Muscat, the capital of Oman, on Tuesday morning. Later, the Indian priest left Muscat on board a Royal Oman Air force aircraft for an audience with the Pope in Vatican. Uzhannallil is an employee of the Vatican, which has been engaged in talks with various quarters for his release. The Oman government took the lead in getting him released after a papal representative visited Oman last month and had an audience with the King of Oman.
According to a statement of the Sultanate of Oman, “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.” According to a Times of Oman report, Uzhunnallil expressed his thanks to God and to Sultan Qaboos, and wished him good health and wellness. “He also thanked his brothers, sisters and all relatives and friends who prayed for his safety and release,” the statement added. The media in Oman confirmed the news of the release of the priest and posted a picture of him - standing in a room with the picture of the Oman king in the background. Expressing happiness at the news, the priest’s brother Mathew Uzhunnallil said their prayers have been finally answered.
In March 2016, militants barged into a care home for the elderly set up by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Yemen’s Aden and shot dead many people, including four nuns of the charity organisation, among whom one was from India. After the shooting, the militants took away the Catholic priest. Since then, other than a few videos released from time to time, there had been no news of his whereabouts. (IANS)