Armed Fulani men in police uniforms have reportedly invaded the Catholic pilgrims centre at Ibite Awhum community, in the Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State and kidnapped six worshippers
However, the kidnap victims later regained their freedom.
The abduction took place on Sunday, near Awhum monastery in the town, according to Daily Post report.
It reported that the kidnappers swooped on 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. “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 mobilised and they went after them in the forest,” she said.
A source said the forest guards in the area pursued the kidnappers and contacted their counterparts at Ogbeke Nike, Enugu East Local Government, who also mobilised 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 of Fulani extraction.
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 bandits’ 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 they did not know then, the kidnappers suddenly became panicky 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 to speak with the command’s spokesman, Daniel Ndukwe, on the incident were unsuccessful as he did not answer calls to his mobile line.