Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - Suspected killers of Fr. Cyriacus Onunkwo, Nigerian priest kidnapped and killed on September 1 in Orlu, the second city of the State of Imo, in south-east Nigeria (see Fides 4/9/2017), have been arrested.
The police have arrested a gang of six persons, led by an ex-police corporal, Jude Madu. According to the confession, Fr. Onunkwo was kidnapped with the view to extort ransom money from his family and the Church. But the priest died out of suffocation because his mouth and nose were cellotaped by the criminals.
According to the police, the priest was abducted on September 1, by unknown gunmen.The clergy’s corpse was discovered in a bush in Omuma Village, on September 2 . The catholic priest who is from Osina was traveling home to arrange for father’s funeral, who died on August 28. There are speculations that he may have been strangled as his body had no gunshot nor stab wounds when he was found. Now, according to what the kidnappers reported, the hypothesis of accidental death emerged.
In recent years, kidnappings of priests and religious have increased in Nigeria, especially in the southern states. Most of them are released after a few days. No one has received news of Fr. Gabriel Oyaka, a Nigerian Spiritan father (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 forbidden payment of any ransom in the case of the kidnapping of priests and religious men and women. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 12/9/2017)