Loading
Suspects arrested over abduction of Jesuit in Afghanistan
Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar, SJ. Photo courtesy of Jesuit Refugee Service.
Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar, SJ. Photo courtesy of Jesuit Refugee Service.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- An Afghan official stated Thursday that three Taliban members have been arrested and questioned over Monday's kidnapping, near Herat, of the Jesuit Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar.

“The police in Herat are doing their best to ensure the safe release of this person,” Sediq Sediqqi, Afghanistan's interior ministry spokesman, stated June 5, the Associated Press reported.

Fr. Kumar, 47, is from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and is Afghanistan director for Jesuit Refugee Services; he was abducted June 2 while accompanying teachers on a visit to a school for refugees in the village of Sohadat, some 500 miles west of Kabul.

“We are trying to get him to safety,” said Herat provincial governor Fazelullah Wahidi.

Jesuit Refugee Services provide education, health care, and social services to more than 500,000 refugees and internally displaced persons annually; Fr. Kumar has been working with them in Afghanistan since 2011.

In 2013, the agency assisted more than 6,000 Afghans who were returning from Iran and Pakistan.

“We are deeply shocked by Prem’s abduction,” Fr. Peter Balleis, international director of Jesuit Refugee Services, said June 3.

“We are in contact with all the relevant authorities and doing everything possible to ensure his safe and speedy return. Meanwhile, our prayers are with Prem and his family and friends at this difficult time.”

The kidnapping of the Indian-born priest follows a May 23 attack on the country's consulate in Herat.

J. Jayalalithaa, chief minister of Tamil Nadu, wrote to the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi June 5 saying, “I would be grateful if you could kindly intervene personally and take up the matter at the highest level in Afghanistan so that the local authorities redouble their efforts to secure the safe and early release of Father Alexis Prem Kumar.”

Before his time in Afghanistan, Fr. Kumar had worked with Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu; villagers there told the Times of India that he had helped them move from makeshift dwellings covered with tarpaulin sheets into permanent concrete houses, and also helped protest discrimination against dalits.

An Indian friend who attended school with the priest said he had wanted to serve others since childhood.

“He used to talk about the plight of poor and downtrodden people when other students would be discussing cinema,” A. Thadeus told Indian daily.

Fr. Kumar's brother, Manoharan, said through NDTV: “I appeal to all in Afghanistan with folded hands, whoever it may be, to release my brother Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar as early as possible so that the agony what we are going through may end.”

Tags: Herat, Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
24

Liturgical Calendar

October 24, 2014

Friday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:54-59

Gospel
Date
10/24/14
10/23/14
10/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 4: 1-6
Gospel:: Lk 12: 54-59

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/24/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:54-59

Homily
Date
10/24/14
10/23/14
10/22/14