Video claiming to show Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil
This is the statement issued by Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia on December 27.
Abu Dhabi: There has been a video released on social media networks around 25 th December 2016 supposedly showing Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil SDB, who was kidnapped during the attack on the Aden Care Home run by the MC Sisters on 4 March 2016.
The features of the person speaking in the video bear a close likeness to Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil SDB. However the source of the video, the date of its creation and the circumstances under which it was recorded are unknown.
Even though we have no information about Fr. Tom’s present whereabouts, we have strong indications to believe that he is still alive.
Since the day of the abduction of Fr. Tom, the Church has made countless appeals from the highest levels to secure his release as well as made concrete efforts by way of working in close collaboration with both international and local diplomatic channels.
Pope Francis made a heartfelt appeal to the kidnappers to release Fr. Tom on Sunday the 10 th of April 2016, “In the hope given us by the Risen Christ, I renew my appeal for the liberation of all persons seized in areas of armed conflict: in particular, I desire to remember the Salesian priest, Tom Uzhunnalil, kidnapped at Aden in Yemen this past March 4th.”
Bishop Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, is in touch with the different channels who are working and are leading the dialogues to secure a safe release. More details cannot be disclosed at this stage.
The Bishop has led constant calls for prayer throughout the Churches in the Vicariate for Fr. Tom and the few handful of remaining Christians in the country. During the Christmas Mass on the midnight of the 25 th of December 2016, the Bishop and the tens of thousands gathered at the Cathedral Parish of St. Joseph’s Abu Dhabi, prayed in silence for the safety of Fr. Tom.
Throughout the world there have been numerous appeals, calls to action and raising up of prayers from the day Fr. Tom was kidnapped. The Salesian Congregation to which he belongs and the Catholic Bishops Conference of India have been in touch with government channels. Numerous pious associations and groups throughout the world have called for and organized prayer vigils and other demonstrations of public support.
We thank all those around the world who have given us their support during these difficult months. We request the faithful not to be drawn into a cycle of disturbance and spreading unconfirmed reports on social media but to continue their prayers for Fr. Tom as the channels try to secure his release.
For reliable news and updates about Fr. Tom, please continue to consult the website of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia (http://www.avosa.org) and the website of the Salesian News Agency ( http://www.infoans.org).