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KIDNAPPING: BISHOP ABSOLVES PARISH PRIEST OF COMPLICITY

By NBF News
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The Catholic Bishop of Aba in Abia, Rt. Rev. Vincent Ezeonyia, has absolved Rev. Fr. Bonaventure Akwarandu of any complicity in the kidnappings in his parish.

Akwarandu was detained by the Joint Military Taskforce (JTF) on the Niger Delta, for alleged complicity in kidnapping activities in the state.

The bishop said in a statement in Aba yesterday, that the church had allowed security agents to conduct an investigation before his reaction. Akwarandu is the Parish Priest of St. Michael's Catholic Church, Umuezi in Obi Ngwa Local Government Area.

The parish is located within the neighbourhood where kidnappers operated and he was detained on Oct. 10 for allegedly aiding and abetting kidnapping in the state.

'On the contrary, while the process was still on, some media houses hurried to publish inflammatory statements on the matter. The truth has emerged and so far, nothing incriminating has been found against Akwarandu. Without any fear of contradiction, I wish to let the public know that Akwarandu does not know any of the kidnappers or have any business with them,' he said.

According to Ezeonyia, all the allegations against the priest are not true. He maintained that the two alleged kidnappers reported to have been harboured in the church were those seeking refuge in their attempt to escape from the soldiers who were after them. He said security agencies already knew about the kidnapping camp in Umuezi, thus, they should not have expected Akwarandu to act as an informant, especially when there was no guarantee for his safety.

According to him, the allegations that five AK47 rifles and three safes belonging to the kidnappers were found in the priest's residence were unfounded. (NAN)