MEA says efforts are on to secure safe release of Father Tom Uzhunnalil
New Delhi, Dec 26: India on Monday said it was in regular touch with Yemeni authorities and Saudi Arabia regarding the safe release of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was abducted nearly nine months ago from war-torn Yemen. A video of the priest pleading for help became viral earlier in the day.
Pres. & PM,I'm sad nothing done seriously in my regard-Father Tom Uzhunnalil, Indian priest abducted by ISIS in March,in video posted on web— ANI (@ANI_news) December 26, 2016
If I was a European priest then I might hv been taken more seriously by authorities and ppl would have got me released-Father Tom Uzhunnalil— ANI (@ANI_news) December 26, 2016
I am from India and therefore I am perhaps not considered of much value, I'm sad: Father Tom Uzhunnalil in a video posted on web.— ANI (@ANI_news) December 26, 2016
However, the veracity of the video could not be ascertained.
The Ministry of External Affairs, in a clarification, said efforts to secure release of Father Uzhunnalil were on.
"You are aware of the circumstances currently prevailing in Yemen where fighting is going on with no central authority in that country. With regard to the safe release of Father Tom who was abducted some months ago, we have been in regular touch with countries in the region, especially Saudi Arabia as also the local Yemeni authorities. Efforts continue in this regard," MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
In the video, uploaded on Facebook, Tom was seen as pleading for help from Indian government and fellow Christians including Pope Francis.
He also said "several months have gone by and my captors have made many contacts with the government of India to get me released. Uzhunnalil was abducted from the port city of Aden in March 4 by militant group ISIS.