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Confusion, Pandemonium, Tension As Gunmen Kidnap Catholic Priests In Edo

Two Catholic priests, Rev. Father Udo of St. Patrick Catholic Church, Uromi and Rev. Father Philemon Oboh of St. Joseph Retreat Centre, Ugboha, have been kidnapped by gunmen.


The duo were abducted along Benin-Auchi Expressway between Ehor and Iruekpen communities on Saturday night, the state police command said on Sunday.

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The police statement signed by the spokesperson for the state command, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, said, “This is to confirm the kidnap of two Catholic Rev. Fathers; Rev. Fr. Udo Peter of St. Patrick Catholic Church Uromi and Rev. Fr. Philemon Oboh of St. Joseph Retreat Center, Ugboha in Esan South East LGA of Edo State.
 
“The Edo State Police Command was informed of the incident by the Divisional Police Officer, Ugboha, Edo State, that on Sunday, July 3, 2022, one Rev. 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 Rev. Fathers were attacked, kidnapped and taken to unknown place by some kidnappers along Benin-Auchi Expressway between Ehor and Iruekpen Communities.

“Immediately, the Commissioner of Police, CP Abutu Yaro, dispatched policemen to the area to carry out aggressive and well-coordinated manhunt in arresting the kidnappers as well as rescue the Rev. Fathers unhurt.”

Sadly, last Sunday, some gunmen killed Rev. Fr Christopher Odia, the priest in charge of St. Michael Catholic Church, Ikabigbo, in the Etsako West Local Government Area of the state.

Odia was abducted from his home while he preparing to leave for mass.
The Director of Social Communications, Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Rev. Fr. Peter Egielewa, in a statement last Sunday confirmed that the cleric had been killed.
The statement said, “With heavy hearts but with total submission to the will` of God, we announce the death of our priest Rev. Fr. Christopher Odia, who was killed by his abductors after being kidnapped this morning, June 26, 2022, around 6.30 am in his rectory while coming out to go for Sunday mass at St. Michael Catholic Church Ikabigbo, Uzairue, Edo State.”
 
Also about a week ago, gunmen suspected to be terrorists, killed a 50-year-old Catholic priest in Kaduna, Rev. Fr. Vitus Borogo.

The Kaduna-based cleric was killed by the terrorists during a raid on a farm known as Prison Farm at Kujama, along the Kaduna-Kachia Road.

Rev. Fr. Christian Emmanuel, the Chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna, in a statement, said, “It is with a heavy heart, but with total submission to the will of God that we announce the death of Rev. Fr. Vitus Borogo, which sad event took place today (Saturday), at Prison Farm, Kujama, along Kaduna-Kachia Road, after a raid on the farm by terrorists.”

On Sunday, June 5, 2022, some terrorists stormed St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State during service, killing about 40 congregants.

Many congregants were also injured during the deadly attack.

Attacks on churches and priests across the country by suspected terrorists seem to be on the increase even though President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has repeatedly denied that Christians are being targeted by Islamic jihadists in the country.

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