A Nigerian Catholic priest, abducted for the second time in two years, has now been released whilst two other locals have been kidnapped.
Fr Jude Onyebadi, who went missing on Saturday evening in Delta State, south Nigeria, was later freed by his kidnappers and is now receiving treatment in a hospital in Asaba.
The priest was kidnapped along with three others by gunmen, thought to be local herdsman, at a farm in the Aniocha North area of Delta State.
Fr Onyebadi had been visiting the pineapple farm to pay the workers and inspect the property, which he had previously donated to the Church for the support of seminarians.
The gunmen released the other hostages after just five hours and Fr Onyebadi was released a few days later.
The Punch, Nigeria, however, report that two more locals, Sunday Audu and Maduoogo Okafor, were kidnapped by the gunmen shortly before Fr Onyebadi’s release.
There is no word yet on whether a ransom was paid for Fr Onyebadi, though the the local diocese of Issele-Uku have previously said that “it is the policy of the Church in Nigeria not to pay ransom on kidnapped priests and religious.”
Rising poverty in southern Nigeria and militant Islam in the north has caused the number of kidnappings in the country to soar in recent years, with priests commonly targeted.
Last year in Issele-Uku, gunmen who abducted Fr Samuel Agwameseh demanded 20 million naira (£40,000) prior to the priest’s release, warning his family that he would otherwise be killed.
Earlier this year, 18-year-old seminarian Michael Nnadi was killed by Islamists after they kidnapped him and three others from Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna.