Bishop Paul Hinder, the Vicar Apostolic of Southern Arabia (whose territory serves Catholics in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Yemen) told CNA on Monday that he has "strong indications that Fr. Tom is still alive in the hands of the kidnappers," but could not give further information, in order to protect the life of the priest.
While voicing their appreciation for previous efforts the government of India has made in securing the release of abducted citizens from the hands of terrorists, most recently Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar, India's bishops said more ought to be done in the case of Fr. Tom.
On March 4, four gunmen attacked a Missionaries of Charity-run retirement home in Aden, Yemen, killing 16 people, including four Missionary of Charity sisters. Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, an Indian national, was kidnapped by the gunmen during the attacks, which are thought to have been perpetrated by Islamist terrorists, though no group has claimed responsibility for the incident.
Since then several blogs and media outlets have reported that Fr. Tom was crucified by Islamic State militants on Good Friday. However, there has been no confirmation of the event by friends, family, or Fr. Uzhunnalil's community.
In their letter, the Indian bishops said they immediately requested the help of the government in tracing and rescuing Fr. Tom after hearing the "sad and shocking news" of his abduction.
Messages were sent to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh, and the Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, "soliciting their urgent intervention to ensure the safety of Fr. Tom."