Priest’s reported crucifixion by IS yet to be confirmed

The Salesian order based in Bangalore, on Monday, told The Hindu that it had no information to substantiate the reports about Islamic State (IS) crucifying Father Tom Uzhunnalil who was kidnapped from Aden in Yemen on March 4, following an attack on a care-giving home.

Father Uzhunnalil belonged to Kerala and prayers have been held in churches across India for his safety since March 4. Photo: Special Arrangement

“We have not been contacted by anyone so far about Father Tom Uzhunnalil. The information circulating online about the terrorists crucifying him has not been put up by us. We shall put out a statement regarding him once we have concrete information,” a priest working in the order said.

‘Information likely to be authentic’

Concern about Father Uzhunnalil’s well-being had been mounting since several international church news services had reported that he was crucified on Good Friday. Father Paul Thelakkat, a senior Catholic priest from Kerala, told The Hindu that the latest information about the crucifixion is likely to be authentic.

“We have received information from Austria that Father Tom Uzhunnalil was crucified. I have no reason to doubt the latest information,” he said.

Father Uzhunnalil belonged to Kerala and prayers have been held in churches across India for his safety since March 4.

The March 4 attack left 16 dead, including four nuns of the Missionaries of Charity who have been declared martyrs by Pope Francis. One of the murdered nuns, Sister Cecilia Minj, was an Indian.