Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, who was kidnapped by ISIS in March of 2016, was released on Tuesday and is now in Rome, the Vatican confirmed. Uzhunnalil, an Indian priest and a member of the Salesian order, was kidnapped in Yemen during an attack on a Missionaries of Charity home that saw 16 people, including four nuns, murdered by Islamists. The Vatican said that Uzhunnalil will remain in Rome for a few days before rejoining his order in India. Few details have emerged about his time in captivity.
The Vatican statement thanked everyone who made Uzhunnalil's release possible, including the Sultan of Oman.
“This morning, the Rev. Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, S.D.B., was freed after being kidnapped on March 4, 2016 in Yemen.
The Holy See fervently thanks all those who worked for his release, and especially His Majesty the Sultan of Oman and the competent authorities of the Sultanate.
Fr. Uzhunnalil will remain for a few days in a Salesian community in Rome before going home to India.”
About a month after his kidnapping, it was reported that he had been crucified and killed by ISIS on Good Friday. This, fortunately, turned out to be false and Uzhunnalil was safe.
Father Tom Uzhunnalil is now free.— Savithri Thekkumpat (@ammusavithri) September 12, 2017
He is now at Oman.
He is weak, says embassy people.
Big relief. pic.twitter.com/PwD2TBdIXp
Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil has been released by his captors. Thanks be to God. https://t.co/5ginsysRX4— Fr. Thomas Petri, OP (@PetriOP) September 12, 2017
Thank God for his release and for his safety. What an unimaginable ordeal for someone to go through.