Kottayam: Salesian priest Fr Tom Uzhunnalil is completing a year in captivity in Yemen this Saturday. But his family and congregation have no clue about his whereabouts.
The Union government had formed a team headed by external affairs secretary to secure his release from suspected rebel fighters.
“The congregation is not aware of their initiatives. The only information available to us is that the security agencies are in talks for his release,” its Bangalore province spokesperson Fr Mathew Valerkot told DC.
"The congregation, as well as the bishop of the Vicariate of Southern Arabia Paul Hinder, are in touch with Vatican for facilitating the priest’s early release. We have no other information."
In a video released on December 27, the priest had appealed Indian government and the church to intervene. He appeared weak and virtually begging for his life.
Thomas Uzhunnalil, his second cousin, said his family also has no information on his status now.
“We don't know if he's alive, except that the Abu Dhabi archbishop's secretary who visited Kottayam told us that negotiations were continuing. He didn’t say anything about its progress,” he told DC.
"The government has not intimated us anything."
Fr Tom was working as a priest at the Missionaries of Charity destitute home in the port city of Aden when he was taken away allegedly by the ISIS. Four nuns, including one from India, died in the attack.
Fr Tom, a native of Ramapuram near Kottayam, was with the prominent Catholic congregation for the past 28 years....