The Vatican has thanked all those who worked for the release of Keralite Catholic priest Fr Tom Uzhunnalil from the custody of terrorists in Yemen who held him captive for over 18 months.
The headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church thanked the Sultan of Oman especially for the crucial role he played in the release of the priest. The Vatican also confirmed that Fr Uzhunnalil will return to India only after spending a few days in the country.
“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. Fr. Uzhunnalil will remain for a few days in a Salesian community in Rome before going home to India,” an official statement issued by the Vatican said.
"Father Tom Uzhunnalil has reached Vatican," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted late Tuesday night.
Uzhunnallil, abducted by terrorists in Aden in March last year, was rescued from captivity from an undisclosed location in Yemen on Tuesday.
In March 2016, militants barged into a care home for the elderly set up by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Yemen's Aden and shot dead many people, including four nuns of the charity organization, among whom one was from India.
After the shooting, the militants took away the Catholic priest. Since then, other than a few videos released from time to time, there has been no news of his whereabouts.