Imo Again: Uncertainty As Gunmen Operate Freely, Whisk Away Catholic Priest, Member

It was a terrible situation for the residents of Umuekebi, Osuoweerre autonomous community in the Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State as gunmen launched brutal attacks, abducting the people.

In this recent attack, the priest in charge of St. Michael’s Catholic Church Parish in the above community, Rev Fr Kingsley Eze, popularly known as Father Ichie was whisked away at the busy Owerre Junction.

According to the Vanguard, the priest and another man identified as Uchenna Newman, who drove the priest in a Volvo jeep, were kidnapped at Orieama Junction around 8 p.m. on Thursday.

The suspects were also said to have robbed shop owners at the junction before leaving the scene.

Reacting, a parishioner, who spoke on condition of anonymity with newsmen, said the church members were terrified by the abduction of the priest and the other person.

He said, “It is true. Our parish priest, Rev’d Fr Kingsley Eze, popularly known as Father Ichie has been kidnapped. He was kidnapped alongside Mr Uchenna Newman, at Orieama junction on Thursday around 8 pm.

“They came down from a Volvo jeep to buy something at the junction before they were kidnapped. They also robbed businessmen at the junction. This is so unfortunate. We sincerely pray for the safe return of our parish priest and Mr. Uchenna.”

An indigene of the area told our correspondent that the incident was not the first in the area in a while.

He said, “Last night, around 8.30 pm, a man and a Rev. Father were kidnapped at Orieama Junction.

Several shops were robbed and destroyed by the kidnappers, who operated on two motorcycles.

“The name of the priest is Rev’d Fr Kingsley Eze popularly known as Father Ichie of St Michael’s Catholic Church that has takenkebi community. The person kidnapped alongside him is known as Uche Newman. This is the third kidnapping taking place within a space of weeks on the Anara Umuelemai road.

“Seriously, we need help. The worst is that, they move around in motorbikes carrying pump action guns. Please, the government should come to our rescue.

“They came on two motorbike and as they were going, they took the car belonging to the priest and the artisan. They also shot and unfortunately, one person was hit by the bullet. The gunshot victim was stated late last night.”

The spokesperson for the state police command, Henry Okoye, had yet to issue a statement on the incident.



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