Kidnapped Catholic priest regains freedom

A Catholic priest, Mathias Opara, kidnapped by gunmen last Friday in Imo, has regained freedom.

Mr Opara, popularly known as Owu Ujo, was released by his abductors late Sunday night.

He was kidnapped along Ejemekwuru- Ogbaku road between Oguta and Mbaitoli Local Government Areas of Imo while returning to Owerri.

Mr Okpara was said to have participated in the funeral ceremony of a colleague’s father at the Izombe community in the Oguta LGA. He was heading to Owerri when he was abducted.

A source said Mr Opara, in charge of Man of Order and Discipline of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, was released unharmed.

“Details surrounding his release are sketchy for now, but the important thing is that he has been released,” the source stated.

Confirming Mr Opara’s release, the police command’s spokesman in Imo, ASP Henry Okoye, said, “The priest was released as a result of the pressure mounted on the criminals by our operatives who were on an undercover operation. The command is trailing their track to possibly arrest them because we will not allow criminals to take over the state.”

Mr Opara’s kidnap and release came barely two weeks after gunmen kidnapped the priest of Christ the King Parish, Ezinachi-Ugwuago of the Diocese of Okigwe, in the Okigwe council area, Rev. Fr. Jude Maduka.

At his adoration ground, Mr Maduka was kidnapped while preparing for the Eucharistic Mass celebration.


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