On Feb. 22 Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India announced the release of Alexis Prem Kumar, S.J., in a comment on his Twitter feed. The Indian Jesuit had been seized in June 2014 in western Afghanistan after a visit to a Jesuit-supported school for the children of returning refugees he supervised as the Afghanistan country representative for Jesuit Refugee Services. Peter Balleis, S.J., the international director of J.R.S., said in a statement released to the press: “The last eight months have been a long and difficult period of uncertainty.... 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.” Despite the abduction, J.R.S. has continued its work in Afghanistan. “We were close to the Afghan people before the abduction of Father Prem and we will continue to accompany them in any way we can,” said Stan Fernandes, S.J., the J.R.S. regional director in South Asia.
Jesuit Freed by Taliban