Gunmen kidnap another Catholic priest in Imo

by Peter Okolie

Gunmen abducted another Catholic priest on Friday evening, Rev. Fr. In Mathias Opara, Imo.

Opara was abducted along the Ejemekwuru and Ogbaku road between Oguta and Mbatoli local government areas of the state.

An eyewitness said the priest was abducted while returning from a burial ceremony for the father of a colleague in the Ijombe community in Oguta Local Government Area.

On the way back to Owerri, the priest was double-crossed and abducted along with some people in the same vehicle, the source said on condition of anonymity.

“The incident happened right in front of us. We were also returning to Owerri from the last rites ceremony when the incident took place.

When contacted for confirmation, the State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Henry Okoye, could not confirm the report.

Okoye simply said “I am yet to receive an official report in line with this.”

However, the Director of Public Communications for the Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Rev. Father. Raymond Ogu, who confirmed the incident, said that the priest was ambushed and later abducted.

“It was coming back from Ijombe. These men emerged from the bush and ambushed.

“They were about five people in the vehicle including the priest, but one of them, a small boy in the vehicle, escaped from the ambush.

Ogu said, “The goons took the priest and the other three passengers, but at some point, they left the other three to take his car, but they went into the bush with the priest.”

Opara’s abduction comes just a week after gunmen abducted Ezinachi/Ugwugo, King Parish of the Diocese of Okigwe in Okigwe Local Government Area, Rev. Fr. Jude Maduka.

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It may be recalled that Maduka was abducted during the preparation for the Eucharistic Mass celebration at her place of worship.

A Catholic priest from St Paul’s Catholic Parish, Osu in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area, Rev. Father. Michael Asumogha, in the Okigwe Catholic Diocese was similarly abducted in April and later released.

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