Although Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna confirmed on Monday that Indian Catholic priest, Father Thomas Uzhunnali, was crucified by Islamic State radicals on Good Friday in Yemen, Indian government officials on Monday (March 28) stated they had no information of his whereabouts. Uzhunnali was taken hostage from a retirement home in Aden during an attack by on March 4. It has been assumed since that time he was being held hostage.
An online update from South African nuns then put Christians in a panic. The Franciscan Sisters of Siessen posted the following message on Facebook March 19: "Was informed that the Salesian priest, Fr.Tom who was kidnapped by ISIS from the Missionaries of Charity Home in Yemen is being tortured and is going to be crucified on Good Friday. This calls for serious concerted prayers from all of us." This post was deleted from the sisters' Facebook page later on the same day that The Gospel Herald published an update to the original article.
See previous coverage about Father Uzhunnali from The Gospel Herald on March 22 and 24:
Islamic State jihadis killed 16 people, including four nuns, in Aden, Yemen, during the March 4 attack. The senior citizens' home was operated by Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa. Earlier this month, the sole survivor of the brutal attack, Sister Sally, described how the militants, who she said belonged to ISIS, killed everyone else.
The UK Daily Mail reports that several religious groups received threatening messages last week claiming that Father Thomas had been tortured, and would be crucified on Good Friday, but it was Cardinal Christoph Schonborn who confirmed the heinous deed had been carried out.
"It is not known how the Archbishop became aware of Father Thomas' alleged fate, but his confirmation of the crucifixion during Easter Vigil Mass was reported in Austrian media," writes the Daily Mail.
Breitbart reported it should be noted that as of Monday morning, all reports of the crucifixion source back to the Archbishop's statement during Easter Vigil Mass.
The Washington Times reported the kidnappers followed through on their threats to kill Uzhunnalil on a cross.
However, the Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service said Bishop Paul Hinder -- based in the United Arab Emirates' capital of Abu Dhabi -- had "indications" the Indian priest was still alive.
As reported in Express from the United Kingdom on Monday, the Indian government said it was "making all efforts" to secure the release of Uzhunnalil. The external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday confirmed the government was desperately trying to rescue the priest.
"Yemen is a conflict zone. We do not have Embassy there. But we will spare no efforts to rescue Father Tom Uzhunnalil," she said.
A handwritten account of the ISIS attack in Aden by the nun who survived the attack and published on Christian website Aleteian, claims five young Ethiopian Christian men ran to the sisters to tell them that IS terrorists were coming to kill them, reports The Indian Times. "A neighbour saw them put Father in their car. They did not find a trace of Father anywhere," it read.