Indian Priest Fr. Tom due to be crucified by ISIS on Good Friday, religious groups claim

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Indian priest in Yemen still untraced

The Missionaries of Charity told on Friday that Father Tom Uzhunnalil who was kidnapped by the Islamic State in Aden on March 4 remains untraced.

The Missionaries of Charity told The Hindu on Friday that Father Tom Uzhunnalil who was kidnapped by the Islamic State in Aden, Yemen, on March 4 following an attack, remains untraced, though concerns mounted last week about a reported plan by the terror outfit to crucify him around Easter.

“We, at the Missionaries of Charity, are concerned but we have not been contacted by anybody giving information about Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil’s whereabouts in the West Asian region. We have seen online reports informing that the IS has been planning to crucify him on Good Friday. But neither our headquarters in Kolkata, nor our regional centres in West Asia have received message from any of the outlawed groups in the region,” Sunita Kumar told The Hindu.

The campaign to save Fr. Uzhunnalil intensified in the last few days, when various Christian websites and Facebook pages claimed that they had information about the IS planning his crucifixion on Good Friday. He was last seen on March 4 in Aden, where he served as a priest at a care-giving home run by the Missionaries of Charity which was targeted that day by the IS. One of the nuns who escaped the attack recovered at a hospital and gave a detailed account of the brutal massacre of 16 people, including four nuns.

The campaign to save the priest, who originally belonged to the Salesian Church, began after that. However, Fr. Uzhunnalil could not be located by the Yemeni police.

The Salesian Church earlier denied the information on the Internet about the crucifixion, with its spokesperson Fr. Mathew Valarkot saying the order had no information about the priest. The Ministry of External Affairs also declined to confirm the reports about Fr. Uzhunnalil, indicating that the government was closely monitoring the information from Yemen.

In Bengaluru, several churches held prayers for Fr. Uzhunnalil, in the wake of concerns over a threat to his life. The Salesians’ Province of Bengaluru, with which he had worked, spent the day holding special prayers for his safety at their two churches in the city, and around 40 community centres across Karnataka. The Archbishop of Bengaluru Bernard Moras told the media that while there was no credible information about Fr. Uzhunnalil, they pray for his safety.

Earlier News:

Indian Priest Fr. Tom due to be crucified on Good Friday, religious groups claim

An Indian Catholic priest kidnapped by ISIS terrorist in Yemen earlier this month is due to be crucified on Good Friday, religious groups claim.

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, 56, was taken by Islamist gunmen, reportedly linked to ISIS, who attacked an old people’s home in Aden, southern Yemen, killing at least 15 people, on March 4.

Several religious groups have posted on social media that they have received reports that Father Tom, from Bangalore, India, will be crucified tomorrow during the Christian holiday.

A group of South African nuns called the Franciscan Sisters of Siessen, posted this week: ’Was informed that the Salesian priest, Fr.Tom who was kidnapped by ISIS from the Missionaries of Charity Home in Yemen is being tortured and is going to be crucified on Good Friday. This calls for serious concerted prayers from all of us.’

Yemeni authorities have blamed ISIS for the March 4 attack on the refuge for the elderly operated by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in main southern city Aden.

Four gunmen posing as relatives of one of the guests at the home burst inside, killing four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard.

’According to our information, the extremists who attacked the elderly care home in Aden have kidnapped priest Tom Uzhunnalil, a 56-year-old Indian, who was taken to an unknown location,’ a Yemeni security official said.

’We are aware that no group has yet claimed the criminal attack... but information points to the involvement of Daesh,’ said the source, who asked to remain anonymous, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

South African nuns called the Franciscan Sisters of Siessen were one of several groups who claimed they had been told Father Tom would be crucified tomorrow

However, members of  Father Tom’s order have denied that he is due to be crucified, saying they have no information on his health or whereabouts.

We have absolutely no information on Fr Tom,’ Father Mathew Valarkot, spokesman for the Salesians’ Bangalore province, told UCANews.

’But even today we do not know who has taken him and what their motives are because no one has claimed responsibility.’

The Vatican’s Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said earlier this month that Pope Francis ’was shocked and profoundly saddened’ to learn of ’this act of senseless and diabolical violence.’ 

Aden had been racked by lawlessness since Hadi supporters, backed by Gulf Arab military forces, drove fighters from Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi group from the city in July last year.

The Yemeni government has repeatedly vowed to restore security to the city but so far had had little success. 

Al-Qaeda and IS have stepped up attacks in Aden, targeting mainly loyalists and members of a Saudi-led coalition battling Huthi rebels and their allies since March last year.

Al-Qaeda distanced itself from the mass shooting Friday, saying it was not responsible.

President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has declared Aden to be Yemen’s temporary capital as Sanaa has been in the hands of rebels since September 2014.

Comments on this Article
Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai Sun, March-27-2016, 12:55
Only our Coward Christians will not PROTEST ...
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