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Pope appeals for release of hostages in conflict zones

Sunday, April 10, 2016 - 01:05

Pope Francis calls for the release of hostages in war zones, making a special appeal for an Indian priest who was abducted in Yemen last month to be freed. Rough Cut - Subtitled (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Pope Francis appealed to abductors in conflict zones to free their hostages as he conducted Sunday (April 10) prayers in the Vatican. Large crowds were gathered in St. Peter's Square for the pope's Regina Caeli prayer which in the Catholic Church's Easter period replaces the usual Angelus prayer. Addressing the crowds from the window of the papal apartments, Francis made an appeal for the release of hostages in war zones, and specifically called for the release of an Indian priest who was taken hostage by gunmen in Yemen last month. Father Tom Uzhunnalil was captured from the southern Yemeni city of Aden by gunmen who killed at least 15 people at an old people's home. The pope condemned the attack at another Sunday prayer in March. "Dear brothers and sisters, in the hope given to us by the risen Christ, I renew my appeal for the release of all hostages in zones of armed conflict; in particular I would like to recall the Salesian priest Tom Uzhunnalil, kidnapped in Aden in Yemen on the 4th of March," the pope said. A Catholic group, quoting the Indian foreign minister, last Sunday (April 3) said Uzhunnalil was safe and could be released soon. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) said a delegation met Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj who said the government was working to secure the priest's safe return. Media reports had earlier said the priest was killed by Islamic State militants on Good Friday, although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack in which gunmen killed four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard. Aden has been racked by lawlessness since supporters of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, backed by Gulf Arab military forces, drove fighters of the Iran-allied Houthi group from the city in July last year. International aid groups have pulled most of their foreign staff from Yemen due to security concerns.

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Pope appeals for release of hostages in conflict zones

Sunday, April 10, 2016 - 01:05