Lagos (Agenzia Fides) - A Catholic priest who had been the victim of a kidnapping for extortion was released by the police.
Father Charles Nwachukwu of the diocese of Okigwe in the State of Imo (in Southeast Nigeria) was abducted by 5 armed bandits on June 16th while traveling with his car along the road Umuokpu Agbajah to Nwangele L.G.A. The police immediately started investigations that allowed to track down the priest's detention place in the forest in Umuokpu.
On June 18, a State intervention team in Imo surprised three kidnappers who held the hostage, and managed to release Fr. Nwachukwu without hurting anyone.
The authorities have announced that the arrested collaborated with the police, allowing them to identify their accomplices, and admitted they had committed other robberies and kidnappings in the area.
In recent years, in Nigeria, especially in the southern States, abductions have increased concerning priests and religious in general along the arteries linking one city to another. Most of them are released after a few days, but for almost two years there has been no news of Fr. Gabriel Oyaka, Nigerian Spiritual Religious (Congregation of the Holy Spirit), abducted on September 7, 2015 in the State of Kogi (see Fides 10/9/2015).
The Bishops' Conference of Nigeria has banned the payment of ransom in the case of the kidnapping of priests and religious men and women. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 28/6/2017)