Suspected gunmen have abducted another Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Mathias Opara, in Imo.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Opara was abducted on Friday evening along Ejemekwuru and Ogbaku Roads between Oguta and Mbaitoli Local Government Areas of the state.
An eyewitness said that the priest was kidnapped while returning from a burial ceremony of a colleague’s father at Izombe community in Oguta Local Government Area.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, said the priest was double-crossed and kidnapped along with some other people in the same vehicle while driving back to Owerri.
The incident happened right before us. We were also coming back to Owerri from the funeral ceremony when the incident occurred,” the source said.
When contacted for confirmation, the state’s 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 that.”
However, the Director of Public Communications of the Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Raymond Ogu, who confirmed the incident, said the priest was ambushed and later kidnapped.
“It was on his way back from Izombe. These guys came out of the bush and ambushed them.
“There were about five people in the vehicle, including the priest, but one small boy among them escaped during the ambush.
“The hoodlums took the priest and the other three passengers away, but at some point, they released the other three to take his car, but they went away with the priest into the bush,” Ogu said.