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Kidnapped priest reported still alive in Yemen, despite reports of crucifixion by Islamic State

March 28, 2016

Despite reports that an Indian priest was crucified by the Islamic State in Yemen on Good Friday, both a local bishop and the priest's Salesian religious superiors say that they believe he is still alive.

Father Tom Uzhunnalil was seized by the terrorists who gunned down four members of the Missionaries of Charity in a March 4 attack on a nursing home in Aden, Yemen. Since that time there has been no clear news about his fate.

Last week the priest's Salesian order dismissed as "baseless" the rumors that he had been tortured by his captors and would be crucified on Good Friday. But those rumors intensified when Vienna's Cardinal Christoph Schönborn repeated them-- apparently on the basis of an inaccurate report-- during an Easter Vigil ceremony. Cardinal Schönborn has subsequently issued a correction, saying that he has no knowledge of Father Uzhunnalil's fate.

Bishop Paul Hinder, the apostolic vicar for Yemen, has said that there are "strong indications that Father Tom is still alive and in the hands of the kidnappers." He declined to provide further details. 

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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Mar. 29, 2016 10:47 AM ET USA

    It's unfortunate there is so much speculation in this very serious situation. Please just pray for his safe release and don't contribute to the confusion swirling about.