Four Abducted GFA Missionaries Released

( [email protected] ) Jul 28, 2004 04:45 PM EDT

Two days after reporting the abduction of five native Indian missionaries, Gospel For Asia announced yesterday, July 27, that all five missionaries have now been freed.

News of the abduction came on July 25, after one of the abducted GFA missionaries, Ramesh, escaped his captors, reporting the incident to GFA leaders. Reportedly, the five native missionaries--Lokesh, Yesuraj, Kumar, Anil and Ramesh--were abducted and wrongfully accused of robbery in the area of Karnatka, located in Southern India along the Arabian Sea.

"[They] were kidnapped by extreme fundamentalists anti-Christian [hoodlums] and we were really concerned [about] what was going to happen to them," GFA's President KP Yohannan told Mission Network News.

Yohannan said that some Hindu extremists are taking a different approach to their attacks. "Since they can not directly attack Christian workers," says Yohannan, "They are now finding a new way to persecute our missionaries by accusing them of stealing things, or causing trouble or whatever else. This was the disguise they used to kidnap these five missionaries."

After learning the whereabouts of the four missionaries being held, GFA pastors contacted the local police, who immediately rescued the missionaries from their captors. Yohannan reported that the missionaries were severely beaten, but that thankfully the authorities intervened and the missionaries were released.

Authorities did, however, ask the missionaries to minister in a different area. "Now I've learned that the police officers are telling our missionaries that they should move away from the community that they are working," said Yohannan. "They're saying, 'for your own safety you please leave this place.'"

Although GFA did not report what the missionaries would be doing following their release, they did report that the missionaries had told police that they forgave their abductors in Jesus name and they didn't want charges filed.

In addition, GFA has asked for the Christian community to continue their prayers for the missionaries, in particular Lokesh, one of the released missionaries who suffered severe beatings from his captors. "Pray for his speedy recovery," GFA stated.

Prior to the kidnapping, the native missionaries had received two threats against their evangelistic outreach.