Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who has been under the custody of Islamic terrorist outfit for 18 months has been finally released. The terrorists abducted him from Yemen while he was serving as the chaplain of the Missionaries of Charity.
Uzhunnalil was rescued following the intervention of Oman foreign ministry. Here's are five things you might you should know about him.
He belongs to Bengaluru province
Father Tom Uzhunnalil is a native of Ramapuram in Kottayam, Kerala, but he belongs to Salesians of Don Bosco’s Bangalore province.
16 murders during abduction
As many as 16 persons, including 4 nuns, Yemeni female staff members and eight elderly residents were killed in the attack carried out by the terrorists at a home for elderly people managed by the Missionaries of Charity in the port city of Aden. He was shifted to six different places within 18 months of captivity.
He was crucified
Just three weeks after the abduction, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna made a statement that the terrorists crucified Father Tom Uzhunnalil. During an Easter Vigil on March 28, the Cardinal said that the execution of Uzhunnalil was done in the same method that Romans were believed to use on Jesus on Good Friday. The statement became a controversy and the Church and Vatican denied any such reports.
The Catholic priest was abducted on March 4, 2016. Four months after the abduction, the militants hacked into the Facebook page of the priest to post his recent pictures and a video of him being beaten up brutally. He was seen weak and pale and the caption of the post was “Fr Tom's Entreaty will be uploaded soon ..!”
Another video seeking help
Another video came up in May 2017, where the priest was seen appealing for help. "My health condition is deteriorating quickly and I require hospitalisation as early as possible," he was heard saying.
Father Tom Uzhunnalil has appealed for help in a new video recording carried by a Yemeni news website.
"My health condition is deteriorating quickly and I require hospitalisation as early as possible," a weak and tired Fr Tom can be seen saying in the video. The date '15-4-2017' can be seen written on a cardboard which is pasted on the priest's body.
Interference of Vatican
The priest was released after Vatican interfered into the matter with the support of Oman government. Uzhunnalil had earlier appealed to Pope Francis and the Indian government to secure his release.
There are reports that the priest had been shifted to some European country for better treatment as he was seen very weak. It is also reported that the priest was released after paying ransom to the terrorists.