New video appears to show kidnapped priest Fr Tom Uzhunnalil being beaten by militants

A video purporting to show the beating of Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, the priest kidnapped by militants in Yemen, has surfaced online.

The photo was posted on Fr Tom's Facebook page.Facebook

The video, posted to Twitter, showed a blindfolded man being assaulted by off-screen assailants.

A photo was also posted to Uzhunnalil's Facebook page, with the caption "Fr Tom's Entreaty will be uploaded soon ..!"

A relative of the priest, Augustine, told The News Minute: "Many people in the family have checked the picture and feel it is Father Uzhunnalil's.

Uzhunnalil is a priest of the Salesian order, originally from India.

"This is the first time such a picture has come," he added. "The only solace is that we know he is alive."

Augustine said that the family were waiting for the priest's plea to be posted online, and that they believe he has been taken captive by a smaller militant group – not ISIS, as has been widely reported.

Uzhunnalil, from Bangalore in India and a member of the Salesian order, was kidnapped by gunmen who murdered four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard at a nursing home in Aden, Yemen, on March 4.

Rumours spread online that his captors would crucify him on Good Friday, but no evidence for the claim was ever produced and both his superiors and the Indian government consistently denied it.

An Indian government official said in May that Uzhunnalil was "safe in Yemen", but that has been thrown into doubt by the video.

According to the Manorama news service, Salesian church authorities have not yet confirmed the authenticity of the photo, but continue to work for his release.

Pope Francis has previously urged prayer for Uzhunnalil's safety.

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