Some gunmen on Wednesday abducted a Catholic priest in Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria’s South-east, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
NAN reported that an unidentified woman was also abducted the same day in Umuahia.
The abducted priest has been identified as Godfrey Chimezie, serving at St. Theresa Parish, Umuahia.
Mr Chimezie was said to have been abducted along the road, near the church, while the woman was abducted at a petrol station.
He was returning to his parish after attending morning Mass at St. Gabriel Catholic Church, Okpururie Afaraukwu, when his abductors swooped on him, witnesses said.
“The kidnappers forced him out of his Toyota Corolla car and bundled him into their SUV and escaped,” a resident said.
A senior priest in the Umuahia Catholic Diocese, who confirmed the abduction of Mr Chimezie, described him as a young priest who was ordained early in the year.
The police spokesperson in Abia State, Godfrey Ogbonna, said the command was yet to get a formal report on the incident from the Catholic Church.
Mr Ogbonna, a superintendent of police, confirmed the abduction of the woman.
The woman, he said, was double-crossed as she was driving out of the filling station.
He said it was not clear yet if the two incidents were carried out by the same gang.
Mr Ogbonna, who said the police were investigating the woman’s abduction, advised the Catholic authorities to make a formal report at any police station around the scene of the incident, on the abduction of the priest.
“This is to enable the command to commence investigation with a view to rescuing the victim,” he said.
NAN reported that the two incidents created panic among residents who expressed fear that such crime could degenerate in the city if not tackled immediately.
A resident, Kingsley Onyemuche, said: “We have never recorded such dastardly acts in one day in Umuahia.
“This place has been quiet and devoid of violent crime for some time now, but these two cases in one day have put so much fear in every resident. The Abia State Government and security agencies in the state should take urgent steps to tackle this ugly development.”
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