June 3, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) confirms that in the afternoon of June 2, its country director Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar, 47, was abducted by a group of unidentified men 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. Meanwhile, our prayers are with Prem and his family and friends at this difficult time,” said Jesuit Father Peter Balleis, Jesuit Refugee Service's International Director.
Fr. Kumar, an Indian national, had accompanied teachers on a visit to a JRS-supported school for the returnee refugees in Sohadat village, about 15 miles from the city of Herat. He was kidnapped from the school as he was about to return to Herat.
Before moving to Afghanistan four years ago, Fr. Kumar had worked for the Jesuit Refugee Service, serving Sri Lankan refugees living in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He is presently the JRS Afghanistan Director.
JRS has been working in Afghanistan since 2008 accompanying returnees home from exile in Iran and Pakistan and providing education and health care services in Bamiyan, Kabul and Herat. In 2013, more than 6,000 disadvantaged people from disadvantaged communities benefited from these services.
In order to facilitate the rapid and safe return of Fr. Kumar, Jesuit Refugee Service will not be making further statements on the situation for the moment. [Source: Jesuit Refugee Service USA]