Father Tom Uzhunnalil, the Catholic priest from Kerala who is believed to have been kidnapped by the Islamic State group in Yemen in March 2016, has made another appeal for urgent help in a video, alleging “poor response” from Indian authorities, PTI reported on Tuesday. In the clip aired by Aden Times, the 58-year-old said the state of his health was deteriorating rapidly and that the needed to be hospitalised at the earliest, without mentioning his illness.
“They [the kidnappers] contacted our Indian government authorities several times, and I have seen the message of their response. It was very, very poor,” the priest claimed, adding that his abductors had been treating him well.
The date April 15, 2017, can be seen written on a piece of paper seen on his body, indicating that the video may have been recorded three weeks ago.
“My dear family people, do what you can to help me release...May god bless you for that,” he said. He also claimed that the bishop of Abu Dhabi had sent a “poor response” to his plea for help. The authenticity of the video could not be ascertained by Scroll.in.
This is Father Tom’s second such appeal through a video. In December 2016, Uzhunnalil had requested Pope Francis and the Indian government to secure his release. In response to his plea, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj had said the Centre would not spare any efforts to bring him back. In April, a month after his abduction, Swaraj said she had assured a delegation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India that the Salesian priest was safe.
Uzhunnalil was abducted on March 4, 2016, during a raid on a nursing home in Yemen. At least 16 people were killed in the incident, including an Indian nun.