Armed men kidnap Catholic Bishop in Owerri, Imo State

Bishop Moses Chikwe

Armed men have kidnapped Bishop Moses Chikwe, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Imo State, in Eastern Nigeria. He was reportedly kidnapped on Sunday night alongside his driver whose name was not stated.

The bishop’s car and official regalia were said to have been later found near the Assumpta Cathedral in Owerri.

This was confirmed in a statement released by the Owerri Archdiocesan Chancellor/Secretary, Monsignor Alphonsus Oha on behalf of Most Reverend Anthony J. V. Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri.

According to Monsignor Alphonsus Oha, “His Grace, Most Reverend Anthony J. V. Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri, painfully informs Christ’s faithful and God’s people at large that most Reverend Moses Chikwe, auxiliary Bishop of Owerri, was kidnapped late evening of Sunday, 27 December, 2020.

“The incident took place around site and services new Owerri, Imo state. The Archbishop appeals to all to join him in prayer for Bishop Chikwe’s speedy release.”

The kidnapping of Bishop Chikwe comes just a week after the abduction in the State of another Catholic religious priest, Fr Valentine Oluchukwu Ezeagu. Father Ezeagu was abducted on 15 December by armed men while on his way to his father’s funeral. He was later released on 16 December.

The Imo state police command yesterday said that they had activated their strategy to rescue Bishop Moses Chikwe as soon as possible.

The State Police Relations Officer, PPRO, Orlando Ikeokwo, told newsmen in Owerri that the police had rolled out the Quick Intervention Team, QUIT, and anti-kidnapping unit, AKU, into action to rescue the kidnapped Bishop

Moses Chikwe was ordained a priest on July 6, 1996, in Nigeria, after which he completed his master’s degree in educational administration at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and his PhD in education at UCLA. Fr. Chikwe served for six years as a priest in residence at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in downtown San Diego and at the V.A. Hospital in La Jolla as chaplain; he also frequently said Mass at St. Mark’s parish in San Marcos, Calif.

He returned to his home diocese where he became director of education and was ordained auxiliary bishop on Dec. 12, 2019.

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