A Catholic Reverend Father, and Parish Priest of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Ikhabigbo in Etsako West local government area of Edo State, Christopher Odia, was on Sunday morning abducted by suspected kidnappers, while two persons were killed, and a third person seriously injuried, in the operation.
A credible source told TELL that Rev. Fr. Odia was kidnapped around 08.15 am along the Auchi-Agenebode Road on his way to officiate another Mass at Ugbhenor community, after he finished the first mass at Ikhabigbo when the gunmen ambushed him near Oghio River and herded him into the bush.
According to the source in the area, the community’s vigilante team had started combing the bushes for possible rescue of the kidnapped priest.
Reacting to the incident, the Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese, Bishop Gabriel Dunia, described it as “a sad one because the local security who went after them, two have died. One of them, a mass server; the other, a member of the vigilante group who ran after the kidnappers.
“The situation is very riotous. The vigilante people are very angry. I am on my way now to the Army in Nikoho. The Fulani, the two who have been arrested now, are with the army”
The magazine gathered that one of the youths shot in the course of searching for the priest, was rushed to a hospital in Auchi, but was referred to the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital for further treatment, where he eventually died.
The traditional ruler of the community, Bramah Alegeh, who confirmed the incident, also stated that efforts were on to get the Catholic priest released.
Alegeh said the police and the army, in collaboration with local vigilante, were on the trail of the kidnappers.
The Edo State command of the Nigerian Police Force could however not immediately confirm the incident as the public relations officer, Chidi Nwanbuzor, superintendent of police, said he was in Church and would respond later.