Benin City, Nigeria, Nov 12, 2018 / 02:32 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Four priests who were abducted in Nigeria’s Edo state last week were released Friday night.
The priests were rescued by police operatives Nov. 9. According to The Punch, the captors fled as a rescue team of police from Edo and Delta states approached.
The Nov. 6 kidnapping was originally reported as occurring in neighboring Delta state, and only one of the victims was identified as a priest.
The priests who were taken hostage are Fr. Emmanuel Obadjere of the Diocese of Warri, Fr. Victor Adigboluja of the Diocese of Ijebu-Ode, Fr Anthony Otegbola of the Diocese of Abeokuta, and Fr. Joseph Ediae of the Archdiocese of Benin City.
Fr. Mike Oyanoafoh, chancellor of the Benin City archdiocese, said the priests had been taken to a hospital in Benin City for treatment.
They had been travelling from Orerokpe to Akahia, for an alumni reunion at All Saints major seminary. They were taken from their car somewhere between Abraka and Urhonigbe.
The Warri diocese said it was suspected that the gunmen who abucted the priests were Fulani herders.
It is unclear whether a ransom was paid for the priests’ release.
Violence against Christians has significantly increased in Nigeria in recent years, with the radical Islamist group Boko Haram threatening safety in the north, and smaller violent gangs threatening security in the south.
In recent months, several priests and religious have been kidnapped in southern Nigeria.
One priest was abducted in Edo in April, six women religious in January, and another priest in October 2017.