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Kidnapped priest is alive in Yemen, Indian bishops assured

April 04, 2016

An Indian government official has assured the country's Catholic bishops that Father Tom Uzhunnalil, an Indian native who was kidnapped in Yemen on March 4, remains alive.

A delegation from the Indian bishops' confererence met with Sushma Swaraj, India's foreign minister, to discuss their concern about Father Uzhunnalil, "especially now, when wild rumors are being spread." The government minister "categorically assured the delegation that Fr. Tom Uzuhunnalil is safe," the bishops' conference reported.

Swaraj declined to disclose any details about negotiations between the Indian government and the priest's captors-- believed to be the Islamic State. Last week rumors circulated that the Islamic State had approached Indian officials, seeking a large ransom for the Salesian cleric's release. Swaraj would not comment on those rumors, but said her ministry is working to secure the release of Father Uzhunnalil.

 
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