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Kidnappers provided medicine, never mistreated: Father Uzhunnalil

8:28 AM, September 14, 2017

Vatican City:The priest was taken to the Vatican after he was freed from his 18-month captivity.

Father Thomas Uzhunnalil (middle) in Vatican after his release.

Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, who was released from his kidnappers Tuesday, says his Islamic abductors who spoke Arabic did not mistreat him but provided him with medicine for his severe diabetic condition.

The Kerala Salesian said these while having a conversation with his confreres in the Vatican community of Salesians, who are currently hosting him, their congregation’s news service reported.

Father Uzhunnalil said throughout his captivity, he celebrated Mass daily, remembering readings and parts of text, without liturgical texts or species to celebrate.

Father Uzhunnalil appeared calm and answered the questions of the confreres but without giving much details. He recalled that he was kidnapped from the chapel of the community of the Missionaries of Charity of Aden.

He said he was “never mistreated and that as a result of his rapid slimming the kidnappers also began to provide him” with the diabetes medicines he needed.

Practically throughout the period he had the same clothes. The kidnappers, who spoke Arabic, communicated with a bit of English with him. He was moved two or three times but always blindfolded in such circumstances, the report said.

"I never thought I could be killed," said the priest.


Immediately after arrival Father Uzhunnalil wanted to celebrate Mass, but was asked to postpone it till medical examinations were over.

Nevertheless, before the arrival of the health care staff, he wanted to have a confession, which he obviously could not do throughout the 18-months of abduction.

The Salesian community honoured him with a "ponnada” a traditional shawl given to the guests of respect in his native Kerala state. The members then received him the emotional hugs. The festive evening meal included traditional Indian foods, the report said.

The priest was taken to the Vatican after he was freed from his 18-month captivity.

He was abducted by suspected Islamic militants in March 2016 after they attacked a Missionaries of Charity care in Yemeni city of Aden and shot dead 16 people including four nuns.


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