Unidentified gunmen abducted a Catholic priest in Nigeria’s Delta State this week, the Premium Times reported Thursday.
The priest, Father Harrison Prhinyovaw, was driving near the town of Abraka Monday evening around 8:00 pm when the assailants held him up at gunpoint and abducted him, leaving his vehicle at the scene.
Prhinyovaw is the pastor of St. John’s Catholic Church, in the Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State, and was reportedly in transit from Warri back to his parish when he was kidnapped.
“The Catholic priest was meandering a bad spot in Oria-Abraka, Ethiope East Local Government Area of the state when he was returning to base from Warri in his Highlander Jeep,” said one local eye-witness to the abduction.
“The kidnappers shot sporadically in the air to scare away passers-by at the scene of the operation,” the witness said. “They abandoned the cleric’s car at the scene of the incident.”
Another auricular witness, a member of a local vigilante group, told journalists he and his colleagues had heard the gunshots fired by the kidnappers but did not see them or go after them.
“It looked like they came to fight a war. We have so far picked about 15 shells which are bullets from their AK-47 gun,” the witness told Oasis magazine.
Fellow Nigerian priest Father Ugochukwu Ugwoke also announced the kidnapping on Twitter, asking for prayers. He identified the missing pastor as Father Harrison Egwuenu, a priest of the Catholic diocese of Warri.
Delta State police spokesman Edafe Bright, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, confirmed authorities’ awareness of the incident, adding that a team of police officers had been assigned to the case.