Gunmen abduct two Edo Catholic priests, six Enugu residents – Punch Newspapers

Two Catholic priests, Rev. Fr. Peter Udo of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Uromi, and Rev. Father Philemon Oboh of St. Joseph Retreat Centre, Ugboha, Edo State, have been kidnapped.

PUNCH Metro learnt that they were abducted on Saturday along the Benin-Auchi Road on their way back to Uromi in the Esan South-East Local Government Area of the state.

The Catholic Bishop of Uromi Diocese, Bishop Donatus Ogun, could not be reached for comments, but his aide said he was in a meeting.

Also, a childhood friend of Oboh, Mr Fred Itua, described the incident as unfortunate.

“We can only appeal to his abductors to set him free. It’s an appeal. This is very traumatising,” Itua added.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, in a statement on Sunday, confirmed the abduction of the clerics.

The statement read in part, “The Edo State Police Command was informed of the incident by the Divisional Police Officer, Ugboha, Edo State, that on Sunday, July 3, one Rev. Father Amos Abhulimen of St. Dominic Catholic Church, Ugboha, reported that he was informed by the Catholic authority via WhatsApp that the above-named Catholic reverend fathers were attacked, kidnapped and taken to an unknown place by some kidnappers along the Benin-Auchi Expressway between Ehor and Iruekpen communities.

“Immediately, the Commissioner of Police, Edo State, Abutu Yaro, dispatched police operatives to the area to carry out an aggressive and well-coordinated manhunt to arrest the kidnappers as well as rescue the reverend fathers unhurt.”

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It will be recalled that a Catholic priest, Rev. Father Christopher Odia, was kidnapped last Sunday at Ikabigbo community, Etsako West LGA of Edo State and was later found dead after a few hours in the bush.

In a related development, suspected herdsmen, on Saturday, kidnapped six people, including two women, in a fresh attack on Mgbuji-Eha-Amufu communities in the Isi-Uzo council area of Enugu State.

The spokesman for Mgbuji community, Chijioke Ogbodo, who confirmed the abductions to PUNCH Metro on Sunday, decried the inaction of security agencies in the state.

Ogbodo said the bandits wore military and police uniforms to deceive the people and succeeded in kidnapping two women on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, while our people were negotiating with the abductors yesterday (Saturday), they came and kidnapped four more people who were returning from their farms,” he added.

Lamenting the constant attack and abduction for ransom almost every two days, Ogbodo wondered why security agencies in the state abandoned the people to their fate.

The Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, could not be reached for comments as of press time.



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