Two Reverend Fathers attached to St. Theresa’s Parish, Umueze Anam in Anambra West local government area of Anambra State, who were kidnapped on the Christmas Eve on their way to an official function in Onitsha, regained their freedom yesterday after four days in the kidnappers’ den.
The victims, Rev Fr Peter Nwachukwu, the parish priest of St Theresa’s Parish, Umueze-Anam and Rev Fr Cajetan Apeh, the assistant parish priest, had since reunited with their families, according to a statement by the Anambra State police command. Police Police patrol team attached to Otuocha Division had earlier recovered a light grey Toyota Corolla Car with registration number FST 689 FL belonging to one of the Reverend Fathers, which was abandoned by the kidnappers at Nneyi- Umueri road.
For four days the whereabouts of the clergy men were unknown, resulting in an anxiety in many parts of the state, especially as the incidence of kidnapping had reduced in the state for some years. Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Mohammed Haruna said yesterday that Police special teams comprising the Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad, FSARS, Police Mobile Force, PMF, and Counter Terrorism Special Anti Cult unit, in conjunction with other security agencies and the Anambra State Vigilante group, had mounted an intensive search, which led to their rescue. He said that following the joint operations since the incident took place and with the aid of a modern technology and aerial surveillance due to difficult terrain in the area, the abductors were forced to abandon their victims at about 6:45pm on 27/12/2018 Although he did not state where the victims were rescued, the PPRO said that efforts were being intensified to apprehend perpetrators of the heinous crime in order to bring them to justice. He said the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Garba Umar had used the opportunity of the rescue of the Reverend Fathers to reassure Anambra people of their safety during the yuletide period and beyond. “The CP further warned all criminal elements that Anambra is not a place to operate as they will surely meet their waterloo and be dealt with decisively in accordance with the law,” the PPRO said.