Abuja (Agenzia Fides) – Unidentified gumen kidnapped the auxiliary bishop of the Catholic archdiocese of Owerri in Imo State, Moses Chikwe. He was reportedly kidnapped on Sunday night alongside his driver whose name was not stated. The bishop's car was later found near the Assumpta Cathedral in Owerri, located in southeastern Nigeria. The kidnapping was confirmed by the Archbishop of the diocese, His Exc. Mgr. Victor Obinna
A statement signed by the Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Fr. Zacharia Nyantiso Samjumi called for prayers for the quick release of the Auxiliary Bishop.
"So far, there has been no official reports of any correspondence with the kidnappers", said Fr. Samjumi. "Trusting in the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we pray for his safety and quick release".
The police have activated two special teams, the Quick Intervention Team (QUIT) and the Anti Kidnapping Unit (AKU), to locate Mgr. Chikwe and arrest his kidnappers.
The kidnapping of the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri took place just a week after the kidnapping of another Catholic religious, Fr. Valentine Oluchukwu Ezeagu, kidnapped on December 15 by gunmen, on his way to his father's funeral. The priest was then released on December 16 (see Fides, 16 and 17/12/2020). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 29/12/2020)