Uzhunnalil was kidnapped at a missionary home for the elderly in Yemen where he worked. Sixteen people were killed in the attack, according to Christian Today, and Uzhunnalil was reportedly taken captive.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna initially confirmed Uzhunnalil’s execution at the hands of Islamic State militants, but, according to Bishop Paul Hinder of Southern Arabia, there are “strong indications that Father Tom is still alive in the hands of the kidnappers.”
Hinder added that Schönborn has retracted his statement which he apparently made on the basis of false information.
“Certain media in India are too nervous and curious and not aware that they are playing with the life of Father Tom,” stated Hinder, adding that he could not say anything more about Uzhunnalil for his safety.
Father Matthew Valarkot also said that Uzhunnalil’s crucifixion is “unconfirmed and unverifiable,” and added: "In this context, we reiterate that till date no further information has come to us from credible and authoritative sources regarding the whereabouts or wellbeing of Fr Tom. Therefore we earnestly appeal to all concerned to desist from forwarding all such unsolicited and misleading messages and spreading false rumours.”
"In the meantime, let us continue to pray for Fr. Tom so that the Lord may protect him from all harm and relieve him from the clutches of the evil forces sooner than later," said Valarkot.
Publication date: March 29, 2016