By Godfrey AKON with Agency
Two Catholic Reverend Fathers have been kidnapped in Edo state, barely one week after kidnappers killed Rev. Father Christopher Odia in the state.
Odia, who was the priest in Charge of St. Michael Catholic Church, Ikabigbo community in Etsako West local government of Edo, was abducted as he was preparing for mass last week, and was allegedly shot dead during a manhunt for his release.
On Saturday, Reverend Fathers, Uboh Philemon of St. Joseph Retreat Centre and Rev. Fr. Udom Peter of Uromi Catholic Church both of Ugbokha, Esan South East local government, were returning to their parish after an event when they were kidnapped.
The duo was reportedly returning from Benin to Ugboha after attending the programme when gunmen accosted them on the Benin-Auchi road between Ekhor and Iruekpen axis and whisked them into the bush.
Police Public Relations Officer in Edo, Chidi Nwabuzor, confirmed the incident.
He said the police received information about the kidnap of the two reverend fathers through the divisional police officer of Ugboha and corroborated by one Rev. Father Emos Holiness of St Dominic Catholic Church of Mission Road, Ugbokha,
Nwabuzor said the Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, had deployed a team of police operatives for a serious manhunt of the hoodlums to rescue the victims unhurt.
The statement from the Edo command reads: “This is to confirm the kidnap incident of two Catholic reverend fathers, Reverend Father Udo Peter of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Uromi and Reverend Father Philemon Oboh of St. Joseph Retreat Center, Ugboha in Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State.
“The Edo State Police Command was informed of the incident by the Divisional Police Officer, Ugboha, Edo State, that on Sunday 03/07/2022, one Reverend 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 Benin-Auchi Expressway between Ehor and Iruekpen communities.
“Immediately, the Commissioner of Police Edo State, CP Abutu Yaro, fdc dispatched police operatives to the area and warned to carry out an aggressive and well-coordinated manhunt in arresting the kidnappers and for the rescuing of the Reverend Fathers unhurt.”