Abducted Indian priest freed in Afghanistan after eight months

An Indian Christian priest, Father Alexis Prem Kumar was released on Sunday.

Updated: Feb 22, 2015, 20:48 PM IST

Delhi: An Indian Christian priest, Father Alexis Prem Kumar was released on Sunday in Afghanistan after eight months. He arrived in the national capital this evening.

47-year-old Prem Kumar, an aid worker, was abducted from Herat by unidentified gunmen on June 2 last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself announced the release of Father Alexis on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

PM Modi wrote: “Delighted at securing the release of Indian Jesuit priest Father Alexis Prem Kumar from captivity in Afghanistan.”

He also tweeted: “Have spoken to Father Alexis Prem Kumar. Informed happy family of Father Alexis Prem Kumar of his safe return after 8 months in captivity.”

The MEA also tweeted about the release of the Indian priest.

“Indian national Alexis Prem Kumar in the safety of his homeland - India, after 8 months of captivity in Afghanistan,” the official MEA site tweeted.

Talking to ANI in the national capital, Sister Elizabeth (Father Alexis Prem Kumar’s sister) said that she was "happy that my brother has been released," adding, "PM Modi spoke to me directly."

Later after arriving in India, Father Alexis Prem Kumar said, "Want to thank almighty, I thank him first. Also this is because of our PM Modi that I am here," adding, "I sincerely thank PM Modi and all officials of foreign ministry, they have done a great job," as per ANI.

He added, "Government of India, especially external affairs ministry has taken a lot of effort to take care of me, to console me. Third I thank my own family, society of Jesus. My students and staff in Afghanistan too had prayed for me."

A native of Tamil Nadu, Kumar was working with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), an educational charity, as its Afghanistan Director and had been in the country for over three years.

Before moving to Afghanistan, Kumar had worked for the JRS, serving Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu.

Kumar had accompanied teachers on a visit to a JRS-supported school for returnee refugees in Sohadat village, 25-km from the city of Herat. He was kidnapped from the school as he was about to return to Herat, the JRS said.

Four days after the abduction, Afghan authorities had announced that three Taliban members had been arrested in connection with the case.

With Agency inputs