Gunmen have abducted two Catholic priests in Edo State, Nigeria’s South-south.
This is coming barely a week after a Catholic priest, Christopher Odia, abducted by gunmen, was killed in the state.
The two priests, Udo Peter of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Uromi, and Philemon Oboh of St. Joseph Retreat Center, Ugboha in Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State, were abducted on Saturday.
The police spokesperson in Edo, Chidi Nwabuzor, confirmed the incident in a statement on Sunday.
Mr Nwabuzor said the priests were attacked and abducted along the Benin-Auchi Expressway
He said the Commissioner of Police in the state, Abutu Yaro, has dispatched operatives to the area “to carry out aggressive and well-coordinated manhunt” for the kidnappers, and for the rescue of the priests.
The slain Catholic priest in the state, Mr Odia, was the administrator of St. Michael Catholic Church, Ikabigbo, Etsako West Local Government Area, and also the principal of St. Philip Catholic Secondary School, Jattu, in the State.
He was abducted at his rectory while coming out for mass on June 27 and was killed a few hours later.
Gunmen had similarly killed another Catholic priest, Vitus Borogo, on his farm in Kaduna, Nigeria’s North-west.
Abduction for ransom is now one of the dominant crimes across various Nigerian cities.
Politicians, entrepreneurs, clerics, and just anyone with good financial worth, including school children, are easy targets.
The Methodist Prelate, Samuel Kanu-Uche, and the Methodist Bishop of Owerri were recently abducted along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway in Abia State.
Members of the church reportedly paid N100 million ransom before the clerics were released.