Vatican City: Keralite Catholic priest Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, who was recently released from captivity of terrorists in Yemen, said his abductors never misbehaved with him during his one-and-a-half-year stay.
He said the captivators had ensured that he got his medicines for diabetes on time. The priest was sharing his experiences with his colleagues of the Salesian Church here. He also met Pope Francis and sought blessings from the pontiff.
Fr Uzhunnalil said he had only one set of clothes to wear during the period of captivity. Twice or thrice he was shifted to different locations, but each time he was blindfolded.
“The abductors knew only Arabic. So it was difficult to communicate with them. I had to depend on a few English words they understood to communicate with them,” he said.
The priest said he spent most of the time in captivity with prayers. “Tough there was no altar or believers, I used to offer the holy mass in my mind,” he said.
Fr Uzhunnalil said he never had a feeling that he would be killed.
He also recollected an incident that happened a day before the terror attack after which he was abducted. “The civil war was strengthening and our director was explaining the hardships our organization (Missionaries of Charity) was facing. He said it was good to be martyred for Christ than live such a life. But the youngest member of the organization replied that he wanted to live for Christ. He had a miraculous escape from the terror attack the next day,” Fr. Uzhunnalil said.
Fr. Uzhunnalil's first wish after reaching Vatican was to offer prayers at the Salesian Church's chapel there. However, he had to be subjected to medical tests before that. He also wished to confess while waiting for the medical team. A feast with traditional Kerala dishes had been prepared for Fr. Uzhunnalil at the Salesian Church center at Vatican City.
In March, 2016, militants had barged into the care home for the elderly set up by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Aden and shot dead many people, including four nuns, among whom one was from India.
After the attack, they took Fr. Uzhunnalil away. Since then, other than a few videos released from time-to-time, there was no news of the priest's whereabouts.