The Holy See thanks Oman for the release of Fr. Tom

Sultan Qabus's commitment to securing the release was decisive. The priest was traced thanks to "some Yemeni parties". Fr. Tom will be in Rome for a f

Sep 14, 2017

VATICAN CITY: "The Holy See fervently thanks all those who worked for his release, and especially His Majesty the Sultan of Oman and the competent authorities of the Sultanate": These are the few lines released last night , with which the Vatican announced the release of Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, 18 months after his kidnapping in Aden (Yemen).

The Press Office also announced that "the religious will remain for a few days in a Salesian community in Rome before going home to India".

Indeed, the work of the authorities in Muscat was decisive. Fr Tom had been kidnapped on March 4, 2016, following the attack on Mother Teresa's hospice for the elderly in Aden, costing four nuns and 12 other people their lives. The violent attack was attributed to Islamist terrorists, but has never been claimed by any group, not even al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula.

According to the Omani news agency Ona, the authorities of Muscat managed to secure the release the "Vatican employee" priest after locating him in "coordination with some Yemeni parties". The search for Fr. Tom had been launched on the "instructions by Sultan Qabus [of Omman]" and at the request of the Vatican.

Oman cultivates balanced relations with all parties in conflict in Yemen and in recent years has managed to secure the liberation of several people who have been abducted or have disappeared in the country at war.

The Indian government spared no efforts for the release of Fr. Tom. In addition to thanking the bishops, the government has also received the thanks of Fr. Joyce Thonikuzhiyil, superior of the Salesian province of Kerala.

In a statement published last night, the superior also thanks the family for "their strength in faith and for perseverance." He proposed that today, in all Salesian Houses, a Mass of Thanksgiving and half an hour of Eucharistic adoration be celebrated.--Asia News

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