(Rome) June 3, 2014 — Jesuit Refugee Service confirms that on Monday afternoon its country director, Alexis Prem Kumar S.J., 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 S.J.
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, Jesuit Refugee Service will not be making further statements on the situation for the moment.
Information to editors
Jesuit Refugee Service is an international Catholic organization with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of forcibly displaced persons. With its headquarters based in Rome and with teams working in more than 50 countries around the world, JRS provides education, health, social and other services to approximately 950,000 refugees and internally displaced persons, more than half of whom are women. JRS services are provided to refugees regardless of race, ethnic origin or religious beliefs.
For further information
International Communications Coordinator
Jesuit Refugee Service
Tel: +39 06 69868 468+39 06 69868 468; +39 346 234 3841+39 346 234 3841
Jesuit Refugee Service South Asia
Tel.: +91 986 886 2860+91 986 886 2860; +91 11 2463 5372+91 11 2463 5372