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Tension in Enugu as Herdsmen Abduct Catholic Priest


Tension is brewing in Owa community in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State where a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Aniako Celestine, priest in charge of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Ukana, Udi Local Government Area was kidnapped by suspected Fulani herdsmen Saturday evening on his way from his home town, Ezeagu, Vanguard reports.
 
According to the report, the herdsmen have demanded a ransom of N10 million through his mobile number before he would be released.
 
It was also gathered that the herdsmen had also killed two sisters in Abbi, Uzo Uwani Local Government Area last month leaving 17 houses burnt. State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the abduction of the priest, saying the command was on their trail.
 
It would be recalled that last week, farmland and livestock worth millions of Naira were destroyed after Fulani herdsmen and villagers from Ugwuleshi Autonomous community in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu state clashed after they accused the herdsmen of grazing in their farmlands. This led to the arrest and detention of 76 members of the community, who were later granted bail by Umuahia Magistrate’s Court last Friday, following Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s intervention. The action of the herdsmen was widely condemned and the government blasted for arresting villagers who were protecting their means of sustenance.
 
MASSOB reacted to the development, the Uchenna Madu-led Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has warned soldiers to stop molesting and intimidating Ndigbo while protecting Fulani herdsmen who use their cattle to destroy farmlands and crops.
 
In a statement yesterday, the National Director of Information for the group, Mr. Samuel Edeson, alleged that the activities of the herdsmen were part of the alleged grand design to Islamise Nigeria.
 
He said: “MASSOB warns Nigerian Army to stop intimidating and killing the people of Biafra in the guise of protecting the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle. “MASSOB advise South-East governors to encourage community-based vigilante groups for proper and well-coordinated security of lives, properties and farmlands.”

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