Gunmen kidnap Akwa Ibom Catholic priest

Gunmen have invaded the premises of Saint X Catholic Church at Ikot Abasi Akpan in the Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and abducted a priest, Alphonsus Uboh.

This is coming barely 19 days after a popular televangelist and founder of the Solid Rock Kingdom Church, Pastor John Okoriko, was abducted in the same community and later released after four days.

A source told our correspondent on Monday that the hoodlums arrived on the church premises around 7pm on Sunday in a motorcycle convoy and forced their way into the church.

According to the source, they shot several times into the air to scare people away before whisking the priest away.

A youth leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, decried the high level of insecurity in the community, adding that residents were no longer safe.

While recalling how a medical doctor was kidnapped while on duty at a health centre at Ikot Ekpaw in the Mkpat Enin LGA, the youth leader said more than 18 persons had been abducted in the last six months.

“The climax of their operations was when the founder of Solid Rock Kingdom Church, Apostle John Okoriko, was abducted in his residence a few weeks ago.

“After the man of God was released from the kidnappers’ den, two persons were shot dead in the community last Wednesday. Even after Apostle Okoriko was released, the gunmen returned to the village and killed Okoriko’s friend and one of his relations in an early morning raid,” he added.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, confirmed the latest abduction, adding that the state Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme, had ordered that the victim be rescued.

“We received that report from the area and we are working on it. The CP has dispatched a team of policemen and they are currently on ground in the area, and we hope that in no distance time, the victim will be rescued,” he said.