A priest believed to have been kidnapped by ISIS militants may face execution by crucifixion on Good Friday, as reports on social media suggest the group plan mark the Christian holiday by mimicking the way in which Jesus died.
Father Tom Uzhunnalil was kidnapped in his home on March 4, as gunmen killed 16 people at an old people’s home in Aden – a port city in Yemen.
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No group has come forward to claim responsibility for the kidnap of the priest, who was a member of the Silesian order in Bangalore, India, but a survivor said ISIS was to blame.
Now reports shared on social media suggest the priest faces being brutally tortured this Friday as Christians mark the day Jesus died.
The Franciscan Sisters of Siessen, based in South Africa, posted on Facebook: “Was informed that the Salesian priest, Fr.Tom who was kidnapped by ISIS from the Missionaries of Charity Home in Yemen is being tortured and is going to be crucified on Good Friday.
“This calls for serious concerted prayers from all of us.”
Since the reports were posted, members of Fr Tom’s order have stepped forward to deny them.
However they are unable to say where the priest may be held or whether he is alive or dead.
Father Mathew Valarkot, spokesman for the Salesians’ Bangalore province to which the kidnapped priest belongs, said: “We have absolutely no information on Fr Tom.
“But even today we do not know who has taken him and what their motives are because no one has claimed responsibility.”
Earlier this month, the sole survivor of the brutal attack, Sister Sally, described how the militants, who she said belonged to ISIS, killed everyone else.
Her account, reported in the Christian Post, described how she evaded death while the ISIS fighters searched for her by hiding behind a door.
It reads: “They were killed one by one. They tied them to trees, shot them in the head and smashed their heads.”
“These ISIS men were everywhere, searching for her, as they knew there were five [nuns]
“At least three times they came into the refrigerator room. She did not hide, but remained standing behind the door — they never saw her. This is miraculous.”