Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The menacing activities of bandits and kidnappers wreaking havoc around Umunneochi-Ihube-Okigwe axis reached its crescendo Wednesday when they abducted people conveying a corpse from Abraka in Delta State to Isuikwuato community of Abia State.
A family member who spoke with Ikengaonline said the bizarre incident had thrown the family into confusion.
The incident, according to the source, took place around Umunneochi/ Ihube Okigwe axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.
He said that armed bandits waylaid the vehicle conveying the corpse and dragged out the occupants, abandoning the coffin in the vehicle on the road.
The dead woman’s daughter was among the abducted victims according to the source who said that the deceased was his uncle’s wife.
Other victims include the driver of the hearse and a relation of the deceased family.
He, however, said that the woman’s daughter later escaped from the captors by providence while the driver and the other man were not so lucky to escape.
The source said that the family had recovered the corpse, which was deposited at the mortuary while efforts were on to rescue the abducted persons.
The source which did not want to be disclosed said that they had informed the Divisional Police Officer in Isuikwuato for police intervention.
He expressed shock over the incident and appealed for urgent Government intervention.
“We are in disarray. People bringing the corpse of my uncle’s wife today were kidnapped at the notorious Umunneochi-Ihube-Okigwe axis.
“They took away the victims into the bush. We have gone to pick the corpse and we have reported to the police. We want Government to come to our rescue.”
Kidnapping for ransom by bandits suspected to be herdsmen has escalated around Umunneochi-Ihube-Okigwe axis since after the abduction of the Methodist Church Prelate, Bishop Samuel Uche.
The cleric said N100 million ransom was paid to secure his release.
When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer PPRO in charge of Abia State, Mr Geoffrey Ogbonna, promised to make inquiries about the incident.
He said he would verify whether the crime occurred in Abia or Imo State.
Bandits had also about a month ago blocked the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway between Leru in Abia State and Ihube Okigwe cashew plantation and abducted scores of passengers.
In separate incidents, bandits also abducted three Catholic sisters going for a church service in Okigwe; as well as a seminarian and a reverend father at Lomara in Umunneochi on their way to Enugu from Spiritan University Umunneochi.