Gunmen on Thursday night kidnapped a Catholic priest and his driver in the Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.
The priest, Rev Father Kingsley Eze, popularly known as Father Ichie, is the parish priest of St Michael’s Catholic Church in Umuekebi community in the Osuoweerre autonomous community. The driver, identified as Uchenna Newman, was driving the priest in a Volvo jeep when they were abducted at Orie ama junction around 8pm on Thursday.
According to a parishioner who spoke to PUNCH on condition of anonymity, the priest and the driver had alighted from the jeep to buy something at the junction before they were kidnapped. The gunmen also robbed shop owners at the junction and shot at random, injuring one person. The injured victim was rushed to a hospital late at night.
The parishioner said the congregants were terrified by the abduction of the priest and the other person. He said, “This is so unfortunate. We sincerely pray for the safe return of our parish priest and Mr Uchenna.”
The spokesperson for the police in the state, Henry Okoye, had yet to react to the incident as of the time of filing this report.
This incident is the latest in a series of attacks by gunmen in Imo State. On Thursday, SaharaReporters reported that gunmen killed a businessman, Linus Nmuo, popularly known as Sakatan, at his country home in Egbuoma community in the Oguta Local Government Area of the state. They shot him repeatedly, making sure he was dead before they left the scene.
On Saturday, the gunmen also assassinated the traditional ruler of Otulu Autonomous Community in Ezinihitte-Mbaise Council area of the state, His Royal Highness, Eze Joe Achulor. He was allegedly shot and killed by kidnappers. His assassination came barely 24 hours after the gunmen also killed the ward chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in the nearby Ife/Akpodim/Chokoneze Ward in the same Ezinihitte Mbaise Local Government Area of the state, Chiedoziem Anyanwu.