x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Retired Emirati police officer missing in India found

Saleh Rashed Ali Saleh Al Abdouli wandered streets of Hyderabad, where he was visiting in-laws on his first trip outside the UAE, for 17 days.

Saleh Rashed Ali Saleh Al Abdouli went for a walk on July 29 and did not return. He was found 17 days later barely two kilometres from his wife’s family home.
Saleh Rashed Ali Saleh Al Abdouli went for a walk on July 29 and did not return. He was found 17 days later barely two kilometres from his wife’s family home.

DUBAI // A retired Emirati police officer who had been missing for more than two weeks in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad was found this afternoon by his wife outside a Hindu temple.

Saleh Rashed Ali Saleh Al Abdouli, 47, a Fujairah resident who was on holiday in India, had been wandering aimlessly after he lost his way and the 25,000 rupees (Dh1,656) he was carrying was stolen from him.

He does not speak the local language and is unfamiliar with the area. He was found barely 2 kilometres from his wife’s family home.

“My sister was travelling in an auto rickshaw when she saw someone like Saleh standing near a temple close to our house,” said Mohammed Majid, Mr Al Abdouli’s brother-in-law.

“When she went close, she realised it was him,” Mr Majid said.

He said his relative’s clothes had not been washed and he looked dirty.

Mr Al Abdouli, who speaks only Arabic, had not been back to his wife’s family home since leaving on July 29. He had left his mobile phone at the house, which made it harder for police and the family to track him.

Mr Majid said his brother-in-law looked anxious and unwell when his wife, Imtiaz Bhanu, found him.

“He was upset someone had stolen his money and few people were willing to help him,” he said.

“We don’t know what he was eating or drinking for the past 17 days. He has been living off food given by mosques.”

Mr Majid said that after the ordeal of the past two weeks, the family was relieved he had returned.

“My sister is so happy. We have not gone home since he was found. We want to complete police formalities and then offer our prayers when we return home,” Mr Majid said.

Indian police, who had previously ruled out kidnapping, confirmed that Mr Al Abdouli’s family had brought him to the police station after they found him. His family in Fujairah has been notified.

“He lost his way and was unable to find the house,” said Ratnam, an inspector at the Langer House Police Station, where Mr Al Abdouli’s wife had filed a missing-person complaint.

“He had gone to buy some tea. Since they didn’t have any change, he went close by to bring some money but lost his way. He didn’t know the language and no one was able to help him. The family found him and brought him to us.”

The police officer said the UAE national spent nights in buildings under construction and on the road.

Mr Al Abdouli, who is on his first trip outside the UAE, arrived in the city with Mrs Bhanu, their son and six daughters on July 8.

He was living with Mrs Bhanu’s family.

After the retired officer’s disappearance, police circulated his picture among 64 police stations in the city.

Mr Al Abdouli’s relatives, most of whom were meeting him for the first time, had visited hospitals, mosques and other relatives’ homes in search of him.

The family is due to return to the Emirates on September 7. Mr Majid said they would not let him out of their sight until he left India.

“I don’t think he’ll go out on his own, either,” he said.

The UAE consulate in Mumbai confirmed that Mr Al Abdouli had been found.

A representative from the consulate said it was Mr Al Abdouli’s first time in India and he had become lost a few hours after leaving home.

The representative said Mr Al Abdouli would ask people for help with directions to get home, but no one, including the police, would answer him. He kept roaming the streets until he was found.

pkannan@thenational.ae
mismail@thenational.ae