The Imo State Police command has linked the kidnap of a Catholic priest, Izu Marcel Onyeocha, to a group of suspected herdsmen.
In a statement, the command’s spokesman, Orlando Ikeokwu, said one Bissong Isa Atugu, who was in the car with the cleric when he was kidnapped, narrated that a group of people believed to be herdsmen emerged from the bush and inflicted matchete cuts on him while the priest was kidnapped and taken to an unknown destination.
Ikeokwu said the cleric was kidnapped when his car developed a fault at Ihube in Okigwe LGA.
The victim, who is a lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities at the Imo State University, is a native of the Avuru Community in Ikeduru council area of the state.
The statement read: “On the 11/04/21, one Bissong Isa Atugu, m, reported that on the 10/03/21, at about 7:45 pm, while driving from Enugu to Owerri with a Nissan Exterra SUV, in the company with one Rev FR. Marcel Izu Onyeocha of Mother Theresa of Golgotha Catholic Church, World Bank Owerri, the vehicle developed a fault around Ihube in Okigwe LGA, and as they stepped down to check the vehicle, a group of people believed to be herdsmen emerged from the bush and inflicted matchete cut injuries on him while the priest was kidnapped and taken to an unknown destination.
“Sequel to the above, the Commissioner of Police Imo State, CP Nasiru Mohammed, has activated all the tactical teams of the Command, with a view to rescuing the priest, and possibly arresting the culprits.
“He however calls for calm as the Command will do everything possible to ensure the rescue of the priest.”
Since late last year, a number of kidnap incidents including that of Rev. Fr. Valentine Oluchukwu Ezeagu, a priest at Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy (SMMM), Umuahia, Abia State, have taken place around that same axis.