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February 21, 2017

Fulani Herdsmen attack three Catholic Priests in Nsukka – Kidnap one, demand Ransom

Acting with unimaginable impunity, the Fulani herdsmen are at it again – shooting and Kidnapping innocent travellers in Enugu State. A Catholic priest kidnapped by the suspected herdsmen, on Monday, is still languishing in their den, as at the time of writing this report, while two other priests who escaped are nursing various degrees of gunshots.

Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Dim, Rector of Father Tansi Major Seminary, Onitsha, Anambra State was kidnapped, while Rev Frs. Jude Chukwuneke and Jude Ezeokana were seriously injured.

The kidnappers have demanded the sum of N2.5 million as ransom for the release of Fr. Dim while the Church has refused to pay any ransom to any kidnapper for any priest.

Fr. Chukwuneke is recovering from gunshot wound on the head and has sent a letter to his friends requesting for prayers and calling for justice. He is the Chaplain of St Camillus de Lellis Chaplaincy, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University.

The unfortunate incident occurred along the Nkpologwu Nimbo road in Uzo-Uwani LGA, Enugu State, as the three priests were returning from Nsukka to Onitsha in Anambra State, after a condolence visit to one of their colleagues who lost his mother. Recall that Nimbo Community in the same Uzo Uwani Local Government Area was the scene of a bloody attack by herdsmen that claimed about 100 lives, earlier this year

Reactions have continued to trail the incident, which has also been widely condemned. Director of Communications of the Nnewi Catholic Diocese Rev Fr. Hyginus Aghaulor told newsmen in Nnewi that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has directed that no ransom should be paid on account of any kidnapping of priests.

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Condemning the kidnapping of the priest, the director urged the Federal Government and security agencies to deploy their resources to secure the release of Rev Fr. Dim.

With all the recent menace by Fulani herdsmen, Fr Aghaulor wondered why the South East Governors had not taken any drastic measures to curb the activities of herdsmen. He was worried that innocent people were increasingly being attacked, killed, kidnapped and women raped.

He challenged Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, in whose domain much of atrocities were being committed, to do something urgently to save lives.

Fr. Aghaulor lamented that since the existence of Nigeria, nobody has seen the level of killing spree that is being perpetrated by the Fulani herdsmen, adding that “while innocent people are left unprotected, we have seen barrage of military wares and personnel protecting the pipelines in Niger Delta, as if oil is more important that people’s life. Why should people be killed without provocation in their own traditional lands?



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