Gunmen have raided a Catholic church in the Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and abducted Father Alphonsus Uboh, the priest.
The gunmen have been besieging communities in the Oruk Anam and Mkpat Enin local government areas of the state for the past six months, during which time they have abducted 19 people.
It was discovered that people of the area and neighbouring villages were being robbed regularly, and shopkeepers, civil servants, and local merchants were being abducted for ransom.
Father Uboh is the Parish Priest of X Parish in Mkpat Enin, which is located near Ikot Abasi Akpan along the Ekparakwa-Etinan road.
It was said that the gunmen arrived at Father Uboh’s church at 7 p.m. on Sunday evening in a motorcycle convoy, forcibly entered the church, and snatched away the priest on their motorcycles after firing into the air to scare away the congregation.
Apostle John Okoriko, the Founder and President of Solid Rock Kingdom Church, was abducted from his home less than two weeks before. After spending four days in the kidnappers’ lair and receiving a ransom, he was eventually released.
The Catholic Priest and eighteen other victims were kidnapped in the region between November 2021 and May 2022, according to the investigation.
Under the condition of anonymity, a senior police officer in the region stated that the trend of kidnappings was worrying and was keeping the Police awake at night.
SP Odiko Mcdon, the Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed the priest’s kidnapping and stated that efforts were on to combat the activities of gunmen in the area.
He stated, “We have received the report from that region and are currently working on it.”
Ekparakwa, villages along the Ekparakwa/Ikot Abasi route in Oruk Anam local government area, and Ikot Ebak, Ikot Akaam, and Ibekwe Akpan axis in Mkpat local government area are among the impacted communities.