Oman govt ‘instrumental’ in Indian priest’s rescue in Yemen
Uzhunnalil was kidnapped when terrorists attacked a care home in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden in March 2016.india Updated: Sep 12, 2017 19:59 IST
The government of Oman played a key role in freeing Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Catholic priest from India who was kidnapped by Islamic State-linked terrorists in Yemen last year, according to a media report.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the ruler of Oman, ordered authorities in the sultanate to assist in rescuing Uzhunnalil after receiving a request for help from the Vatican, the Times of Oman reported on Tuesday, hours after external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that the priest had been rescued.
“Oman’s government was instrumental in facilitating Father Tom Uzhunnalil’s release from militant captivity in Yemen,” the report said.
“In response to the royal orders of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and as per a request from the Vatican to assist in the rescuing of a Vatican employee, the concerned authorities in the sultanate, in coordination with the Yemeni authorities, have managed to find a Vatican government employee,” the Oman government said in an official statement on the rescue of Uzhunnalil.
The 58-year-old priest was “transferred this morning to Muscat in preparation for his return home”, the statement said.
Uzhunnalil was kidnapped when terrorists attacked a care home in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden in March 2016. The attackers killed 16 people, including an Indian nun, eight elderly residents and a guard.
The priest thanked God and Sultan Qaboos. He also thanked “his brothers, sisters and all relatives and friends who prayed for his safety and release”, the statement added.
Uzhunnalil had featured in several videos in which he had asked the Indian government to step up efforts for his release.