Anambra state-based Catholic priest, Rev. Father Cyril Okafor, has been rescued by the Umueri community vigilante team, 24 hours after his abduction.
The priest was said to have been kidnapped on Tuesday afternoon around the Holy Ghost Adoration Centre, Igboukwu in Aguata Local Government Area of the state.
A security update issued on Wednesday by the President-General of Umueri Community and African Director of the International Association of Peace Advocates, Chief Johnny Chukwudi Metchie, said the cleric was abducted at about 3 pm on Tuesday but rescued around 4:30 am on Wednesday by the vigilante team who intercepted the kidnappers.
He said, “Today, at about 4:30 in the morning, the agile men of the Umueri vigilante group led by the CSO, Friday (Omo Fri), intercepted some kidnappers in Umueri and rescued a Reverend Father identified as Rev. Father Cyril Okafor.
“The Rev. Father was kidnapped yesterday (Tuesday), November 15, 2022, around Holy Ghost Adoration Centre Igboukwu. According to the Rev. Father, who is now with the police at Otuocha Police Station, he was taken to Enugu and then to Nteje where they hoped to keep him in a hotel room, but the hotel was fully booked.
“Then, they brought him to Otuocha, Umueri, and kept him gaged in an abandoned building, waiting for his family to pay ransom before the Umueri vigilante CSO and his team intercepted one of the kidnappers who claimed he was a visitor on his way to pray in the river that early morning.
“He was forced to lead the vigilante to where he is staying in Umueri, and that’s how he led them to the building where they kept the Rev. Father. Unfortunately, while the vigilante searched the building and questioned him, he ran away with the other three members of his gang.
“That’s when it dawned on the vigilante that they were criminals, and as they intensified the search on the building, the Rev. Father was found where he was tied up. The vigilante also recovered a Highlander SUV used by the kidnappers.
“I am thankful to God for using men of Umueri vigilante to save the life of His servant. I am so proud of the job being done by the Umueri vigilante group.
“Criminals should stay away from Umueri and the entire Omambala region because the joint task force in place will always fish them out for the law to handle.
“While investigation is going on, I beg everyone to be alert and report any suspicious person to the vigilante group. Get to know your neighbor, and be worried when you see an unknown face in any abandoned or uncompleted building.
“May God keep protecting our vigilante men and Umueri Oke-ebo Kingdom from evil people.”