Armed Fulani bandits in police uniforms have reportedly invaded the Catholic pilgrims center at Ibite Awhum community in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State and kidnapped six worshippers. Luckily, the kidnap victims later regained their freedom after they were rescued by hunters and forest guards in the region.
The abduction took place on Sunday, near Awhum monastery in the town. It was reported that the kidnappers invaded the pilgrims in broad daylight while they were praying at a popular hill near the Monastery and took them deep into the forest.
Meanwhile, information on Wednesday from the community suggested that the victims had been all rescued following the efforts made by forest guards from both the Udi and Enugu East local government councils to rescue them.
An eyewitness who managed to evade the abductors said the assailants were Fulani men in police uniforms. The eyewitness identified as Clementina Ofor said she was at the pilgrims centre to pray when the incident occurred. According to her words; “Immediately, they left with six prayer partners, I ran to the village and raised an alarm which drew the attention of villagers to the incident. Immediately, security agents were mobilized and they went after them in the forest,” she stated.
A source said the forest guards in the area pursued the kidnappers and contacted their counterparts at Ogbeke Nike in Enugu East Local Government Area of the state, who also mobilized some forest guards to provide reinforcement.
It was learnt that the kidnappers were said to have fled, leaving the captives alone in their camp where they were found by the guards, along with a victim from another incident.
Narrating their ordeal, the victims, who were evacuated to the Monastery, said they were praying on a hill when suddenly, they were surrounded by about seven individuals in police uniforms but believed to be Fulani bandits.
They said the bandits took all their phones and ordered them into the forest. They said that after trekking a long distance, they got to the bandit’s camp deep in the forest, where other bandits numbering about ten were waiting for them. They also met another kidnap victim there.
According to the victim, for reasons known to God alone, they did not know what was going on in the minds of the Fulani bandits, according to the victim, the kidnappers suddenly started to panic and subsequently ran into the forest, leaving them alone and confused before the forest guards appeared.
Meanwhile, the state police command has yet to issue a statement on the incident. Efforts made by Sahara Reporters to speak with the Enugu state Police command’s spokesman, Mr Daniel Ndukwe on the incident were unsuccessful as he did not answer calls to his mobile line.
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