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One held for Jesuit priest kidnap

Kabul, June 4 (PTI): One person has been arrested in connection with the abduction of Father Alexis Prem Kumar Antonysamy from Afghanistan’s Herat, senior officials said today.

Afghan authorities have conveyed to the Indian government that the suspect had helped in the “execution” of the plan to kidnap the 47-year-old Jesuit priest who hails from Tamil Nadu.

The Afghanistan head of the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), an international education NGO, was abducted on Monday while on a visit to a JRS-supported school for refugees in Sohadat village, 25km from Herat city where the Indian consulate was attacked less than a fortnight ago.

The officials said India was in touch with all levels of the Afghan government and the local authorities.

“The Indian government is in touch at all levels. The external affairs minister is monitoring the situation and giving directions when required. Our ambassador is in touch with the Afghan government in Kabul and our consul-general is in touch with local authorities in Herat,” an Indian official said.

The external affairs ministry has denied that Kumar had connections with the government amid reports in Afghanistan that the aid worker was associated with the Indian mission.

“He is an Indian national who was working with an NGO. He had no connection with the Indian government or mission or consulate,” the spokesperson said.