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Father Tom Uzhunnalil is ‘safe’, Swaraj tells CBCI

Father Tom Uzhunnalil is ‘safe’, Swaraj tells CBCI
Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was abducted by a terror group in Yemen, is “safe” and efforts are underway for his early release, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told a delegation of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the organisation’s spokesman said on Sunday.

Father Gyanprakash Topno, spokesman of CBCI, told PTI that a five-member delegation had on Saturday met Swaraj who strongly refuted reports that the priest was not alive.

“Father Tom is safe and efforts are on for his release as early as possible,” Topno said quoting the minister who also told the delegation that “government will facilitate the priest’s safe return to India”.

He said the minister told the delegation that more details cannot be divulged at this stage.

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kerala, was abducted last month by a terror group in Yemen, a conflict zone. He had gone missing in Yemen after the Islamic State militant group attacked a care home run by Mother Teresas Missionaries of Charity.

Gunmen had stormed the refuge for the elderly earlier this month and killed a Yemeni guard before tying up and shooting 15 other employees.

Four foreign nuns, including an Indian, working as nurses were among those killed. Father Tom was captured from the southern Yemeni city of Aden by gunmen who killed at least 15 people at an old people’s home in an attack that was condemned by Pope Francis.

Meanwhile, Swaraj said that India has “secured” the release of four Indians from Syria. 

The four Indians were arrested by the Syrian government in January reportedly when they were on their way to join Islamic state ISIS.

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