A Catholic priest in Nigeria has been abducted by gunmen two years after undergoing the same ordeal.
On Saturday evening, Fr Jude Onyebadi was kidnapped from his pineapple farm in the Aniocha North area of Delta State, located in southern Nigeria.
The priest had been visiting the farm, which he runs in support of a Church foundation for seminarians, to inspect the property and pay the workers, before he and three of the farmers were quickly set upon by gunmen.
The abductors are thought to be the same local herdsmen who had kidnapped Fr Onyebadi two year ago.
The gunmen released the other hostages after just a few hours but have held onto Fr Onyebadi, parish priest of Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Issele-Azagb.
It is thought that a ransom will be sought for the priest, but Fr Charles Ugunwa, director of communications for the local diocese of Issele-Uku, said that the abductors were yet to state their demands to the diocese.
In recent years, kidnapping for ransom has plagued Delta State, which suffers from high unemployment and poverty rates, and priests are commonly targeted.
Speaking last year, after three other priests were kidnapped, Fr Uganwa told ACI Africa that the diocese would not meet requests for money from kidnappers because “it is the policy of the Church in Nigeria not to pay ransom on kidnapped priests and religious.”
According to The Guardian, Nigeria, Delta State’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Onome Onovwakpoyeya, has confirmed the abduction of Fr Onyebadi and said that “police have been dispatched to the bush to rescue the Catholic Priest.”
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