Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen have abducted a Catholic priest and six other motorists in Enugu State.
Their abduction came barely 24 hours after a middle-aged man was killed and several others kidnapped in separate locations in Enugu State on Saturday.
The kidnapped priest, Reverend Father Marcellinus Okide, a parish priest of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Amofia-Agu Affa, in Udi Local Government Area of the state was kidnapped on Sunday evening around 5pm along Eke-Affa-Egede Road while returning to his parish.
The Catholic Diocese of Enugu State has confirmed his abduction and called on Christians to pray for his safety.
The Diocesan Communication Director, Reverend Father, Anthony Aneke, who confirmed his abduction in a statement, decried the upsurge in insecurity in the state, South-East and the entire country, appealing to both the security agencies and the government to live to the calling and ensure the security of Nigerians at all times.
Titled ‘Enugu diocesan priest kidnapped, diocese calls for prayers’, Fr Aneke said that Fr Okide was kidnapped at approximately 5pm while travelling along the Eke-Egede-Affa Road.
The statement partly read, “In a troubling incident, Reverend Father Marcellinus Obioma Okide, a Catholic priest, was abducted on September 17, 2023, at approximately 5pm while travelling along the Eke-Egede-Affa Road in Nigeria. Fr Okide, who serves at St. Mary Amofia-Agu Affa Parish, was en route to his parish when the unfortunate incident occurred.
“The diocese has issued a fervent appeal to the faithful and the public at large for prayers, hoping for the swift and safe release of Fr Okide. Additionally, they are calling for a change of heart on the part of the kidnappers. This distressing event highlights the ongoing challenge of kidnappings in the region.”
Recall that a middle-aged man identified as Sunday Ugwuja was killed along Edem-Nrobo-Ezikolo-Abbi Road in Uzo-Uwani Council on Saturday evening and several others were seriously wounded by kidnappers, who lay siege on the road for several hours without any challenge.
Sunday, who hailed from Apapam village, Ezikolo Abbi community, was said to be heading to Nsukka on Saturday evening when the assailants ambushed them and killed him.
The Enugu State Police Command has yet to react to the incident.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ndukwe, did not respond to several calls put across to him.
However, operatives of the Udi Police Division are said to be combing the area to secure the release of the Catholic Priest and other victims.
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