Kidnapped Salesian priest appears in new video pleading for help

An Indian Salesian priest who was kidnapped in Yemen in 2016 has appeared in a new video pleading with the Catholic Church and the Indian government to help him.

(REUTERS / Stringer)People stand outside an old people's home after it was attacked by gunmen in the Yemeni port of Aden March 4, 2016.

On May 8, the news site Aden Time posted a YouTube video showing Father Tom Uzhunnalil sitting down with a sign on his lap bearing the date April 15, 2017. The Salesian priest also appears to be heavily bearded and gaunt in the clip, the Catholic Herald observes.

At the beginning of the video, Father Uzhunnalil states his name and date of birth, and thanks his family for sending him messages of concern. Although he said his captors are treating him well to the best of their abilities, the Salesian priest also said his health is deteriorating and that he needs to be brought to the hospital as soon as possible.

In addition, Father Uzhunnalil said his captors have communicated with the Indian government several times. However, the responses were "very, very poor."

"They also contacted the bishop, bishop of Abu Dhabi. There, too, the response was not encouraging," Uzhunnalil said in the video. "Neither the bishop nor the Indian government authorities ask them what they really want to get me released. It is a poor response, and I am sad about that."

"Please, please, do what you what you can to get me released," the priest begged his family and friends. "May God bless you for that."

Father Uzhunnalil was taken by militants who attacked a Missionaries of Charity facility in Aden, Yemen on March 4, 2016.

In December, he appeared in a video making the same appeal to the Indian government and also to Pope Francis. He also lamented the lack of effort to secure his release, saying he would have gotten help if he were a European priest, Bos News Life reports.

In the five-minute video, he speculated that he is not valued as much as European priests since he is from India. Addressing Pope Francis, he asked the pontiff to take care of his life because he is depressed and that his health condition is not good.

The Indian government had previously said it is taking steps to secure Father Uzhunnalil's release but also noted that the process will take some time.

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