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Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar in 2013. (Photo: Jesuit Refugee Service)
Indian Jesuit Released after Eight Months in Captivity in Afghanistan

February 22, 2015 — After more than eight months in captivity, Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar has been released from  Afghanistan and has returned to his native India. Fr. Prem was serving as country director in Afghanistan for Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) when he was abducted by a group of unidentified men on June 2, 2014.

JRS said in a statement that it is “immensely grateful to the Indian government for its role in achieving his release.” 

"The last eight months have been a long and difficult period of uncertainty for Fr. Prem's family, friends and colleagues. You cannot imagine our relief that he is now home, safe and sound. We are aware of the tireless efforts at many levels to achieve his release, and we are grateful for the consolation we have received from the prayerful support of countless friends —  including those of the school children from the school where he was kidnapped," said Jesuit Father Peter Balleis, JRS International Director.

Fr. Prem was taken by a group of men in western Afghanistan while on a visit to a JRS-supported school for refugees. JRS has worked in Afghanistan since 2005, and even during the difficult months of Fr. Prem’s captivity, JRS continued to run its programs in the country to ensure that Afghan students had access to quality education.

Before moving to Afghanistan five years ago, Fr. Prem worked for JRS serving Sri Lankan refugees living in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

"Our attention now turns to the welfare of Fr. Prem. All of us will do whatever we can to ensure that Prem receives the necessary attention and support from his family, his Jesuit brothers in the Society of Jesus, and his many friends and colleagues in JRS," said Jesuit Father Stan Fernandes, JRS Regional Director in South Asia.[Source: Jesuit Refugee Service]

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