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7/3/2016 - Yemen - The Search continues for Fr Uzhunnalil as we remember the martyrs of Aden

(ANS - Aden) - At yesterday's Angelus Pope Francis called them "the martyrs of today,” and "victims of the attack of those who killed them" and also of the "globalization of indifference". He was referring to the four Missionaries of Charity and the civilians who were killed last Friday 4 March in Aden, Yemen. An Indian Salesian, Fr Thomas Uzhunnalil, was in the Sisters’ House at the time of the attack.  Three days later there is still no news of him.

Francis Pope dedicated his first thought after the Angelus to the victims of this aggression. He said that they gave "their blood for the Church", although "there are no newspaper headlines for them." He expressed his sympathy to those who weep for the victims and promised his prayers, at the same time invoking the intercession of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta for peace and respect for human life.

Peace and respect for life are still a mirage in much of Yemen, a country torn by a war that has lasted for over a year and a half, the result of previous socio-political instability. In Sana'a, the historical capital of the country, rebel Houthi militias have been in control since September 2014. Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the President recognized by the international community, has transferred his government to Aden. He condemned Friday’s attack, calling it an act of terrorism

The fate of Fr Uzhunnalil remains a mystery.  Many, including civil and Church authorities, are searching for him. The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that, although the Embassy in Yemen has been closed for some time, his officials are working through contacts with the Indian community present in the country, especially those from Kerala his state of origin.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia is at work, networking with Vatican officials, the Apostolic Nunciature in Kuwait, the Government of the United Arab Emirates, the Indian Embassy and other diplomatic channels to provide all possible help.

And by the Salesian Fr Mathew Thonikuzhiyil, Bangalore Inspector, on which the Salesian mission in Yemen, yesterday met the main representatives of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, these days in the meeting, and the Prime Minister of Kerala, to ask even their help. Also don Thonikuzhiyil also met the family of Don Uzhunnalil to update them on the current situation and provide a little 'comfort.

Published 07/03/2016

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