On Tuesday, Indian priest Father Tom Uzhannalil made his way to Muscat and then the Vatican following his release in Yemen. Oman
Father Tom was working at a care home for the elderly in Aden, Yemen, when he was abducted in March 2016. Unknown gunmen ‘posing as relatives of one of the residents of a Missionaries of Charity home in Aden attacked the home, killing four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard.‘ Father Tom was taken in the attack.
The Vatican reportedly contacted Sultan Qaboos bin Said for his assistance in securing Father Tom’s release. There has been some speculation that the Government of Oman and the Vatican played the primary roles in this process, with Indian authorities possibly taking a back seat.
During his 18 months as a hostage, Father Tom appeared twice in hostage videos. The most recent video was released in May, in which Father Tom can be seen asking the Pope and the Indian government for help ensuring his release. There was also widespread reporting he had been executed by his captors. Authorities in India deny a ransom was paid.
Oman helped to negotiate the release of Nourane Houas, a French aid worker, who was released last October after nearly a year as a hostage in Yemen. Muscat also played a role in the release of a German hostage last June and Australian soccer coach Craig McAllister in May this year.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) September 14, 2017
— Nicole Elliott (@KidnapRisk) September 12, 2017
— DNA (@dna) September 12, 2017
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