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Gunmen kidnap Anambra Catholic priest, Rev Fr Basil Gbuzuo, police launch manhunt for abductors

A popular Catholic priest in the Onitsha Diocese of Anambra State, Reverend Father Basil Gbuzuo, has been kidnapped by yet-to-be identified gunmen.

The news of the priest’s abduction was contained in a release by the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha dated May 16, 2024.

According to the statement, the incident occurred on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, around 8 am along the Eke Nkpor-Obosi bypass.

The statement also added that His Grace, Most Rev Valerian Okeke, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Onitsha, had called on all Christ’s faithful and people of goodwill to pray for the quick and safe release of the priest.

The Archdiocese said it was also intensifying efforts to secure Fr Gbuzuo’s freedom, while committing the priest to “powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests, for his speedy release from the hands of his kidnappers.”

The statement signed by the Chancellor of the Diocese, Rev Fr Prudentius E. Aroh, read in part, “With sadness, we write to inform the general public of the kidnap of one of our priests, Rev. Fr. Basil Gbuzuo.

“The sad incident occurred yesterday morning, Wednesday, May 15, 2024, along Eke Nkpor-Obosi bypass, about 8am.

“He is a priest in residence at Holy Trinity Catholic Parish, Ogidi. Until now, the abductors have not established any contact with anyone.

“His Grace, Most Rev Valerian M. Okeke, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Onitsha, invites all Christ’s faithful and all men and women of goodwill to earnestly pray for the quick and safe release of the priest as we intensify our efforts to ensure his freedom.

“We commend our brother, Fr Basil, to the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Priests, for his speedy release from the hands of his kidnappers.”

Reacting to the development in a statement Thursday evening, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Tochukwu Ikenga, said the police had launched a manhunt for the abductors of the priest.

The PPRO’s statement read, “Anambra Police Command has launched a manhunt for the abductors and possible rescue of Fr Basil Chukwuemeka, which sad incident occurred at Nkpor Junction, Onitsha.

“The Command is already working with some eyewitnesses to the incident in the ongoing operation

“Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, CP Nnaghe Obono Itam, while addressing the Catholic priests, allayed their fears and assured them that the Command would do everything to rescue the priest unhurt and arrest the abductors.”

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