Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gunmen kidnap Catholic priest in Delta

A Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Peter Chukwurah, has been kidnapped by unknown gunmen at Ibusa Community in Delta State.

The incident occurred on Sunday night at a street behind the priest’s parish, St Monica’s Catholic Church, Ibusa.

Chukwurah's abductors are demanding N10 million for his freedom.

The Catholic Community in the Issele-Uku Diocese, on Monday, held a High Mass at St. Monica’s, with the laity and more than 100 priests, calling for God’s intervention in the incident.

Leading the other priests, Monsignor Steve Uzoma, the Episcopal Relations Officer of the diocese, celebrated the mass.
In his homily, Monsignor Buchi Aninye, decried what he described as a dastardly act against God’s servant, and advised Chukwurah's kidnappers and other criminals in Ibusa Town to repent, assuring them God’s forgiveness.

At the end of the mass, the clergy and the laity declared that no kobo would be paid as ransom to the kidnappers, charging every parish in the area to commence rosary prayers forthwith.

Chukwurah was attacked by the kidnappers at about 8 p.m. after visiting a church member in the town. “In fact, it was as if they wanted to kill him, given the number of bullet holes on the car at the scene of the incident,” said a resident of the area who did not want his name published.

Before the priests and church members in the diocese departed to their parishes, Chukwurah’s bullet-riddled Toyota Camry car, with registration number Delta AG 35 AKU, was towed to the church.

It was confirmed that the kidnappers demanded the ransom through a telephone call to Rev.Fr. Jude Ossai, the priest of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, also in Ibusa and another call to Chukwurah’s assistant.

When contacted, the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Charles Muka, (ASP), confirmed the incident, saying that the command had commenced investigations into the matter.

He also confirmed the demand of N10 million by the kidnappers for the release of the priest.

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