Four Catholic priests, including one from the Warri Archdiocese, were on Tuesday night kidnapped by unknown gunmen around the Urhonigbe axis in Edo State.
It was gathered that the victims, including one identified as Rev. Father Emmanuel Obadjere of the Saint Williams Catholic Church, Ororokpe, Delta State, under the Warri Archdiocese, were on their way to Ekpoma in Edo State when they were waylaid and abducted by suspected armed hoodlums.
The abduction was confirmed by the Delta State Police Command, saying it will do every thing to secure the clerics’ freedom.
It also confirmed that the abductors had reached out to the families of the victims and demanded ransom.
But the police have cautioned against paying for their release. The amount being requested was not stated.
A source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the priests were travelling in a convoy from Ororokpe, the headquarters of Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State on Tuesday night before they were abducted in Urhonigbe.
Delta Police spokesman Andrew Aniamaka, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed the abduction. He said the command had raised a search team for the victims, adding that everything would be done to ensure that the arrest and prosecution of the abductors.
According to a source, the clerics were in a convoy of four vehicles and that the kidnappers allegedly forced two of the vehicles to a halt, ordering the occupants to alight.
The source said: “Father Obadjere was travelling with his clergy friends to Ekpoma for their school’s old students meeting. The incident happened at Abraka as they were coming down from the bridge. It was on Tuesday.
“They were in four vehicles. The kidnappers could not track the first two cars in front. They abandoned the vehicles the Priests were driving in.
“So, it was the priests in the other two vehicles that alerted other priests in Warri Diocese of the development. Two of the priests are from Benin Arch-Diocese, one from Abuja and the other from Warri Diocese.”
Confirming the development, the Delta State Police Commissioner, Muhammed Mustafa, said the police was doing everything possible to secure the release of the abducted persons.
He said that a suspect has been arrested within the area of the incident, adding that investigation is ongoing.
The police chief said: “It is true that four persons were kidnapped along the Benin/Ekpoma Road. We are working hard to rescue them.
“The police have arrested one person who was around the scene of the crime. They have established contact with the church and the immediate family of those kidnapped.
“The police are working hard to rescue the victims, adding that a suspect had been arrested in connection with the crime within the area where the incident happened.
“The kidnappers have started calling, but you know, we do not encourage paying ransom. We will definitely ensure that they are released.” Agency report