Church officials in India are claiming not to have evidence corroborating the now metastasizing rumors that Father Tom Uzhunnalil has been murdered by crucifixion at the hands of his radical Islamic captors.
Rumors have circulated on the Internet for weeks that the Indian priest would be killed on Good Friday by the men who captured him at a nursing home in Aden, Yemen on March 4. Cardinal Christophe Schônborn reportedly confirmed to his congregation on Saturday night that the event had taken place. Schönborn’s spokesperson confirmed that he “did say that the priest has been crucified,” but acknowledged that he had “no confirmation” of the statement made from the ground.
Uzhunnalil’s Salesian order has consistently refused to confirm the order, noting they do not even know who specifically took him or anything about what might happen to him. Father Uzhunnalil was abducted during an Islamic State raid on a retirement home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, in which sixteen people, including four nuns, were killed.
Church officials in India have told International Business Times – India that they have no information on his whereabouts still and described the rumors of his demise as “fake.”
A Salesian Sister in Bangalore said, “We have no information about Father Tom. The Ministry of External Affairs is also making enquiries and so are we.”
The manager of the Kottayam Centre of the church told IBTimes India: “There is no official news. We have enquired about Father Tom from where the news came from, but there is no update. These rumors are fake.”