Kabul ( AsiaNews) - Afghan security forces have arrested a suspect in connection with the kidnapping of Indian Jesuit Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar SJ, who heads the national section of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). The arrest took place yesterday evening in the western province of Herat, where the kidnapping also took place. Fr. Jeyapaty SJ, rector of the Loyola College and instructed to speak to the media, told AsiaNews that "there is still no official confirmation of the arrest".
Samiullah Qatra, head of provincial security, said that
the suspect was taken into custody for further investigation.
Afghan police and intelligence forces have launched an operation to free the 47-year old priest, who was kidnapped last June 2 in the district of Zendjan . Fr Alexis was visiting a school for refugees. He had recently returned from a trip to Iran and Pakistan. In Afghanistan since 2008, much of his work consists of assisting Afghans who have returned from these two countries through health and education programs, particularly in Bamiyan, Kabul and Herat.
Meanwhile , the inhabitants of Zendjan believe that the
kidnappers might have taken Fr. Alexis to the district of Gulran. Taliban
militants are active in the area, but no one has asked for a ransom , nor claimed
responsibility for the abduction.
According to a local source for AsiaNews, anonymous for security reasons, Fr. Alexis may have been kidnapped because he is a foreigner , and not because he is a priest.