JUST IN: Imo Catholic priest regains freedom

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The kidnapped Imo State Catholic priest, Rev. Prof. Izu Marcel Onyeocha has regained freedom.

The priest’s release was contained in a short statement issued by the Owerri provincial secretary of Claretian Missionaries, Rev. Fr. Matthew Iwuagwu on Monday.

Also, the spokesman of the state police command, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the release.

The cleric is a professor of Philosophy at the Imo State University, is a priest in the congregation of Claretian Missionaries.

Onyeocha was kidnapped by a group of persons suspected to be herdsmen, according to the state police command.

He was kidnapped on Saturday evening along the Enugu-Port Harcourt Express Road at Ihube community in Okigwe council area of the state when he was returning from Enugu to Owerri.

Fr. Iwuagwu disclosed that Fr. Onyeocha was dropped off at the Ihube Community in Okigwe council area of the state in the morning wee hours of Monday.

He said the kidnappers apparently became frustrated that no one was willing to pay ransom for the release of the priest and quickly released him.

The victim was said to have trekked to St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, Okigwe, from where he returned back to his base.

Iwuagwu’s statement also read, “With grateful hearts we wish to thank the Almighty God for the release of Fr. Izu Marcel Onyeocha from the den of the kidnappers.

“The Provincial Superior has spoken with him. He is in a stable condition.

“We wish to thank the Priests at St Mary Cathedral Okigwe for their care and hospitality.

“We also thank the security operatives for their assistance.

“We appreciate everyone who stormed heaven with prayers. God is ever faithful and He answered us”.

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