Kidnapped Catholic priests in Kaduna, Edo regain freedom

Rev. Fr. Luigi Buena

Emmanuel Silas, the kidnapped priest of St Charles Catholic Church, in Kauru LGA of Kaduna state, has regained his freedom. He was kidnapped by gunmen who stormed his rectory in Zambina area of the state on Monday.

His release was confirmed by the chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Emmanuel Okolo, on Tuesday in a statement.

The statement read, “With hearts filled with joy, we raise our voices in a symphony of praises as we announce the return of our brother, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Silas.

“He was abducted by armed persons from the parish rectory at St. Charles Catholic Church, Zambina, in Kauru Local Government Area, in the early hours of Monday, July 4th 2022.”

Similarly, an Italian cleric, Rev. Fr. Luigi Brena, who was abducted in Edo state has regained his freedom after the Police launched a rescue operation for him. He was rescued on July 3, 2022.

His release was confirmed by the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Edo State Police Command, Jennifer Iwegbu, in a statement on Monday in Benin City, the state capital.

According to her, Brena, who is 64-years-old, was kidnapped by hoodlums on Sunday who were suspected to be kidnappers along Ogunwenyi through Usen community in Ovia South-West Local Government Area (LGA) of the state. However, he has regained his freedom.

It will be recalled that on Sunday, two Catholic priests, Reverend Father Udo Peter of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Uromi; and Reverend Father Philemon Oboh of St. Joseph Retreat Centre, Ugboha in Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo state, were kidnapped by gunmen.

Their kidnap was confirmed by the Police Public Relations Officer of the Edo State Police command, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, in a statement.

The statement read in part, “The Edo State Police Command was informed of the incident by the Divisional Police Officer, Ugboha, Edo State, that on Sunday, July 3, 2022, one Rev. Father Amos Abhulimen of St. Dominic Catholic Church Ugboha, reported that he was informed by the Catholic authority via WhatsApp that the above named Catholic Rev. Fathers were attacked, kidnapped and taken to an unknown place by some kidnappers along Benin-Auchi Expressway between Ehor and Iruekpen Communities.

“Immediately, the Commissioner of Police, CP Abutu Yaro, dispatched policemen to the area to carry out aggressive and well coordinated manhunt in arresting the kidnappers as well as rescue the Rev. Fathers unhurt.”

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