Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Good Friday 'Crucified' Fr Tom Uzhunnalil is alive and well, last efforts for his release.

Good Friday 'Crucified' Fr Tom Uzhunnalil is alive and well, last efforts for his release. (AsiaNews).

Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, the Indian Salesian kidnapped by an extremist commando in early March in Yemen, is alive and "safe" and right now "last efforts" are being made to "ensure his release", says a senior Indian government official, raising hopes of an imminent release of the priest who has been in his kidnappers hands for two and a half months.

However the local Church calls for prudence and, while still optimistic for a positive outcome, reiterates the call for caution because today there is still no "new evidence."

Indian Catholic sources, echoing the words of the Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, refer to Fr. Tom "as safe" and say that mediation in place to secure his release has reached "its final phase." In addition, the Salesian is not in the hands of the Islamic state, but "anti-government forces" present in Yemeni territory.

Suspicions therefore focus on Shiite Houthi rebels, who have been battling the government army for more than a year, although there is no explicit confirmation of a group’s involvement. "Negotiations are ongoing - continues the Indian Catholic source - and his release is imminent".

Speaking to AsiaNews, Msgr. Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen), states that "there are no new elements" and the priest's fate is still uncertain. Hence the new invitation to "prudence" not to prejudice the outcome of ongoing negotiations for his release.

During Holy Week, unsubstantiated stories began circulating in India claiming that the kidnappers planned to torture, kill and crucify the priest on Good Friday. Hmmm.....At the time i was the first to deny the alleged 'crucifixion'. 

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