India committed to rescuing priest captured in Yemen: minister
December 27 2016 11:40 AM
Tom Uzhunnalil: Abducted Kerala priest
Tom Uzhunnalil: Abducted Kerala priest

Dpa/New Delhi

Indian authorities say they are committed to securing the release of a Catholic priest kidnapped in Yemen, after a video surfaced in which the priest appeals for help and says he is being ignored because he is an Indian.

Tom Uzhunallil, from India's Kerala state, was abducted by gunmen believed to be from Islamic State on March 4 when they attacked an old people's home run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Aden, a port city in Yemen.

 Sixteen people, including four nuns, were reported killed in the attack.

In the video, aired by Indian news channel Manorama TV, the priest says his captors had made ‘contacts’ but nothing was being done for his release.

 India's Minister of Exterior Affairs Sushma Swaraj said on social media site Twitter that she had seen the footage.

‘He is an Indian citizen and the life of every Indian is most precious for us,’ she tweeted Tuesday.

She added that the Indian government had got a priest and a non-profit worker released from their captors in Afghanistan.

‘We have spared no effort and we will spare no effort to secure Fr Tom's release from captivity,’ Swaraj said.

The veracity of the video of Tom Uzhunallil or when it was shot could not be independently verified, Manorama TV said.

Uzhunallil appeals to Pope Francis, the Indian government and the Catholic community. ‘If I were a European priest, I would have been taken more seriously by authorities and people would have got me released ... I am very depressed.’

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