Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
A hearse driver and a member of the bereaved family abducted Thursday by armed bandits while conveying a corpse from Delta State to Isuikwuato in Abia State are yet to regain their freedom.
Twenty four hours after their abduction, the bereaved family has begged their abductors to free them.
The appeal is coming after the bandits suspected to be herdsmen were said to have established contacts with the relatives of the victims.
According to the source, the continued captivity of the duo has further traumatized the family.
The source which pleaded anonymity, said that the victims do not deserve to pass through such mental torture, and begged their captors to please release them.
Ikengaonline had reported that kidnappers intercepted a hearse conveying corpse from Abraka in Delta State to Isuikwuato in Abia State and dragged out the occupants, abandoning the coffin in the vehicle on the highway.
The incident which took place at the notorious Umunneochi-Ihube-Okigwe axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway has sparked outrage in the state.
A commercial driver told Ikengaonline on Friday that he saw the abandoned ambulance at the cashew plantation between Ihube and Leru junction.
A source who said the deceased was his uncle’s wife, said the abductors whisked away the victims including the deceased woman’s daughter, another relation and the driver of the hearse into the bush.
The source had said that the woman’s daughter later escaped from the captors by providence while the driver and the other man are still being held captive.
He said that the family had recovered the abandoned corpse and deposited it at the mortuary.
The source which spoke with Ikengaonline on Friday, said the abductors had called but were yet to mention any figure as ransom.
The family source appealed to the kidnappers to show pity at least for the sake of the dead woman whose corpse was being conveyed home.
He said that the family had been greatly destabilized over the bizarre incident as the safety of the hearse driver and the other family member still in captivity had become a serious source of worry.
The source pleaded with the abductors to free the victims and save the family from further trauma.
Kidnapping for ransom by suspected herdsmen has been on the increase around the area since after the abduction of the Methodist Church Prelate, Bishop Samuel Uche and two clerics traveling with him.
The Divisional Crime Officer, DCO, of Police in Umunneochi abducted about three weeks ago is yet to be seen even after ransom has been paid by the family, thus raising fears over his safety.
Despite multiple security roadblocks on the Enugu- Port Harcourt Expressway as well as other roads in the areas kidnapping by suspected herdsmen has shown no sign of abating.
Commuters and motorists plying the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway as well as Umunneochi local routes now live in fear of the unknown.