By Peter Okolie
The Police Command in Imo says it has launched a rescue operation to free a Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Jude Maduka, who was kidnapped on Sunday morning.
Maduka, the Parish Priest of Christ the King Parish, Ezinachi/Ugwuago of the Diocese of Okigwe in Okigwe Local Government Area, was abducted while preparing for the Eucharistic Mass celebration.
The kidnap occurred barely 24 hours after yet-to-be identified gunmen had ambushed and killed two policemen at Okpala junction in Ngor-Okpala Local Goeêvernment Area of the state.
A Catholic faithful, who pleaded anonymity, said the Diocese had been informed of the kidnap.
The source, who expressed worry over the incident, noted that Catholic Priests had become sudden targets of hoodlums in the state.
“It has not been long a Catholic Priest of St. Paul’s Catholic Parish, Osu in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area, Rev. Fr. Michael Asumogha, in the same Okigwe Catholic diocese was kidnapped and later released.
“This is not a good development and it should be nipped in the bud,” the source said, while praying for the quick release of Maduka.
Confirming the incident, the state’s Police spokesman, ASP Henry Okoye told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a phone call, that Maduka was kidnapped at the building site of his adoration centre.
According to him, the state Commissioner of Police, Muhammed Barde, has ordered full investigation and manhunt for the kidnappers.
“We are currently on the trail of the kidnappers to immediately rescue the priest and bring the hoodlums to face the wrath of the law,” he said.