Jesuit priest Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar, who is from southern India’s Tamil Nadu state, was visiting a Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)-supported school for returnee refugees in a settlement, some 34km from the city of Herat, Afghanistan. The forty-seven year old Jesuit was about to return to Herat when he was forced at gunpoint into a vehicle by a group of armed men on June 2, 2014. It is not known who the kidnappers were. After over 8 months of captivity, the priest was released on Sunday, Feb. 22. Before moving to Afghanistan in 2011, Fr. Prem Kumar had worked for JRS, tending to Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu, India.
Vatican Radio contacted Fr. Prem Kumar on the phone in his hometown in Sivagangai Diocese in Tamil Nadu. His captors had provided him with a radio receiver, and this he used to frequently tune in to Vatican Radio's Tamil and English programmes. He is extremely grateful to Vatican Radio through which he could listen to the Church but especially to the consoling and encouraging words and voice of Pope Francis:
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