Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Vatican priest from Kerala who was abducted by Islamic State militants and held in captivity in Yemen, returned to India on Thursday, ANI reported. He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi later on Thursday.
His return comes as a major diplomatic breakthrough for the external affairs ministry as Omani ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said played an instrumental role in the priest’s release from Islamic State in coordination with parties from Yemen.
After his return to Delhi, Father Tom was quoted by ANI as saying, "I thank the Almighty for making this day possible. I am grateful to all people who worked in their own ways." Father Tom was released on 13 September, after which he went to Muscat.
The Islamic State held him for 18 months after he was abducted from an old age home run by Missionaries of Charity at Aden in Yemen.