The Methodist Church of the Prelate of Nigeria has been abducted in the southeast

Abuja, Nigeria (AP) – Armed men abducted the prelate of Nigeria’s Methodist Church, police said on Monday, as a result of an incident that once again reflects the disturbing security problems in the Western African country.

His Eminence Samuel Kanu Uche was abducted Sunday along a highway in the Umuneochi district of the southeastern state of Abia in Nigeria, police spokesman Jeffrey Ogbon told the Associated Press. Two other senior clerics along with him were also taken hostage.

In recent years, southeastern Nigeria has faced brutal attacks and abductions, often blaming unknown gunmen. Authorities have accused members of the indigenous Biafra, a leading separatist group, of being behind many attacks.

There has been nothing from the kidnappers so far, Ogbon said, adding that “we are making efforts” to rescue him and two other prisoners.

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condemned the abduction and called on Nigerian President Muhammadu Bukhara to “give a clear order to the security authorities to release them immediately and stop the continued abduction of clerics and other innocent Nigerians.”

“If the great servant of God’s caliber Uche could be abducted as a three-year-old child on the main road without any resistance from the police, it speaks of what our security architecture has become,” said the Christian Association.

Other political and religious leaders have also called for the release of the prelate and many others held captive in Nigeria, where kidnappings for ransom have been a worrying trend.

“This is no longer a country to be proud of,” said Adebayo Aladeji of CAN. “No sensible government can continue to leave citizens in a terrible state of uncertainty as we are now.”

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