Father Alexis Prem Kumar, an Indian Jesuit priest who was kidnapped by suspected militants in the Herat province of Afghanistan in June last year, has been released and will return home to India later today, official sources said.
"Release of Indian national Father Alexis Prem Kumar secured in Afghnaistan," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said on microblogging site Twitter, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taked to him and his family.
"Delighted at securing the release of Indian Jesuit priest Father Alexis Prem Kumar from captivity in Afghanistan," Mr Modi said on Twitter.
"Have spoken to Father Alexis Prem Kumar. Informed happy family of Father Alexis Prem Kumar of his safe return after 8 months in captivity," he added.
Fr Prem Kumar, 47, worked for the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), an international NGO working for refugees throughout the world, and had been in Afghanistan for the past four years as the country head of the organisation.
An Indian from Tamil Nadu, he was reportedly kidnapped while accompanying teachers on a visit to a JRS-supported school for returnee refugees in Sohadat township, 34 km from Herat.
Before moving to Afghanistan, Fr.Prem Kumar had worked for the JRS, serving Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu.