Jesuit priest working with former refugees kidnapped in Afghanistan

(Catholic Herald UK) A Jesuit priest from India was kidnapped on Monday as he was leaving a school serving children who were recently returned to Afghanistan after living as refugees in Iran or Pakistan.

The Rome headquarters of the Jesuit Refugee Service confirmed that its Afghanistan country director, Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar, “was abducted by a group of unidentified men” as he was leaving a JRS-supported school for returnee refugees in Sohadat village, about 15 miles from the city of Herat in western Afghanistan.

“We are deeply shocked by Prem’s abduction. We are in contact with all the relevant authorities and doing everything possible to ensure his safe and speedy return,” said Jesuit Father Peter Balleis, international director of JRS.

Church officials in India expressed concern for the safety of Father Prem Kumar, 47, who has worked in Afghanistan since 2011.

“We are worried and concerned about the kidnap of Father Alexis,” Father Edward Muduvassery, Jesuit provincial for South Asia, told Catholic News Service on Wednesday from his office in New Delhi.

Father Joseph Chinnayan, deputy secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, appealed to the Indian government to quickly to seek the Jesuit’s release. [more]


Catholic Herald UK