Rome, 3 June 2014 – The Jesuit Refugee Service confirms that on Monday afternoon its country director, Alexis Prem Kumar SJ, 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 Refugee Service International Director, Peter Balleis SJ.
Forty-seven year old Indian national Prem Kumar had accompanied teachers on a visit to a JRS-supported school for the returnee refugees in Sohadat township, 34 km 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, Prem 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 2005 accompanying returnees home from exile in Iran and Pakistan and providing education and healthcare services in Bamiyan, Kabul and Herat. In 2013, more than 6,000 vulnerable people from disadvantaged communities benefitted from these services.
In order to facilitate the rapid and safe return of Prem Kumar, the Jesuit Refugee Service will not be making further statements on the situation for the moment.