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Father Tom Uzhunnalil Update: Hostage Begs For Help, Requires Hospitalization 'As Early as Possible'

( [email protected] ) May 10, 2017 10:51 AM EDT
Father Tom Uzhunnalil, the Catholic priest kidnapped last March by Islamic extremists in Yemen, has begged the internatinoal community for help, revealing his health condition is "deteriorating quickly."
Father Tom Uzhunnalil, the Catholic priest who was kidnapped by suspected Islamic extremists last year, is "alive", according to Yemen. YouTube

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, the Catholic priest kidnapped last March by Islamic extremists in Yemen, has begged the internatinoal community for help, revealing his health condition is "deteriorating quickly."

In a new video published on Monday, Uzhunnalil, who was a member of the Silesian order in Bangalore, India, states that although his captors are treating him "well to the extent that they are able," his health is "deteriorating quickly," Catholic News Agency reports.

"I require hospitalization as early as possible," the priest asserted.

He claimed that his captors "contacted the Indian authorities several times and I have seen the message of their response."

"It was very, very poor," he added.

Uzhunnalil said that his captors also contacted the bishop of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, but their response was "not encouraging".

He lamented the fact that neither the indian government nor the bishop are doing what they can to secure his release.

"It is a poor response and I am sad about that," he said. "My dear family people, do what you can to help my release," he pleaded. "Please, please do what you can to help get me released. May God bless you for that."

In the video, the priest appears with a long, white beard, sitting with his legs crossed and a note on his lap that suggests that the film was created on April 15, 2017.

As reported, Uzhunnalil was last year abducted by militants believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State terrorist group who raided a nursing home run by the Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity group in the city of Aden and killed four nuns, two female staff members, eight residents residents and a guard.

It was initially rumored that the kidnapped priest was going to be executed on Good Friday 2016. However, shortly before Christmas, a five-minute video message was published on YouTube showing the priest looking frail and unhealthy and appearing to read from a script.

In the video, the priest said he felt "sad" that nothing has been done by the government and the church to get him released. Father Tom also said suggested that his Indian ethnicity contributed to the lack of assistance, adding that if he were a European priest, he would have been released already.

"I'm sad that this is the situation," he said in the video. "If I were a European priest, I would have been taken more seriously by authorities and people and would have got me released. I am from India and therefore I perhaps am not considered as of much value."

He addressed the Indian government, accusing it of doing little to help him despite his continued pleas.

"Several months have gone by and my captors have made many contacts with the government of India to get me released," he said. "Reports have been in the news that everything is being done to get me released quickly, but in reality, nothing seems to have happened. I'm very sad and depressed. I request also my fellow Christians in India, the bishops and priests, to do their might to help me get released and thus to save my life," he said.

CNA notes that since his kidnapping, Salesians in the Bangalore province of India have made continued efforts for his safety and release, including holding a prayer vigil Jan. 4 and a worldwide novena Jan. 15-23.

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