- Sep 22, 2020
Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria are all on the brink of famine, and the United Nations has called this the largest humanitarian crisis in the 70 years of its existence. The civil wars and terrorist groups like Boko Haram as well as the lack of infrastructure and isolation from the rest of the world have all exacerbated drought and food shortages to create a catastrophic situation for millions of people.
Father Thomas Uzhunnalil was kidnapped March 4, 2016, after suspected Islamic terrorists stormed a home for elderly people managed by the Missionaries of Charity nuns in the port city of Aden. The assailants shot dead 16 people, including four nuns, before kidnapping the priest, who served as chaplain of the house.
Since Father Tom Uzhunnalil was kidnapped while serving in Yemen, the Church has not done enough to secure his safe return according to a member of India’s Legislative Assembly who suggested that the kidnappers are only interested in money and not prayers.
Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil spoke on another video on YouTube asking for help in order to be released. Uzhunnalil was kidnapped in March 2016 and in December of that year he appealed to Pope Francis asking “as a father, please take care of my life,” in an unauthenticated video.
A year after Father Tom Uzhunnalil was abducted by suspected Islamic militants in Yemen, Catholics in his home state of Kerala are still praying for his release. “The torture he suffers will definitely deepen his faith and strengthen the church,” said Cardinal George Alencherry.
Salesians in south Asia have called on all their communities to mark Jan. 4 as a Day of Prayer for the release of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a missionary kidnapped ten months ago in Yemen who seemed to appear in a recent video begging for his life.