KOZHIKODE: The news about the return of Fr Tom Uzhunnalil from the jaws of militants came as a pleasant surprise for Reji Joseph, a native of Koorachundu here. Reji, a 35-year-old software professional, knows the agony of being held a captive by an armed group in hostile surroundings.A year after his return from Libya, after being held captive for 96 days by a rival militia group, Reji shudders at the thought of his harrowing ordeal. After his life was brutally ripped apart in captivity, Reji had no hope of a return. He had a lucky escape thanks to the efforts made by the India Embassy.
“I am really thankful to the God for giving me back my life. I had no hope of meeting my family during the days when I was kept locked in a room at an undisclosed place in Libya,” said Reji, who runs a small business unit at Kooranchundu. “I will never leave India again. I am really happy to be with my wife and children. The India Government acted promptly to secure my release,” he told Express.Reji has been in Libya from 2007 working for a private software firm. Though he returned in 2011, he again went to Libya in 2014 to take up a fresh assignment. On March 31, 2016, a group of armed men abducted Reji.
“I was employed with a firm handling data of the Civilian Registration Authority in Tripoli, Libya. My abductors belonged to a rival military group in the war-torn Libya and they thought I will be useful in hacking into the government server. They gave me food and water but I was kept locked inside a room. It’s hard to forget the mental torture I underwent. I was really lucky to return alive from the war-ravaged country,” he said. “I had no hope of a return. I was not confident regarding the efforts made by the Indian Embassy to save me,” said Reji.