The kidnapped Benue State Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. David Echioda, has regained freedom.
The priest of Otukpo Catholic Diocese was reportedly abducted by gunmen on Sunday afternoon along Alla-Akpa Road while returning home after conducting mass at Utonkon in the Ado Local Government Area of the state.
The Director of Communications, Otukpo Catholic Diocese, Rev. Fr John Okopopu, who confirmed Echioda’s release in a telephone interview with reporters on Wednesday, said the hoodlums apologised to the priest for abducting him, saying he was not their target.
According to Okopopu, Echioda was released at 6.30pm on Tuesday.
He said Echioda’s abductors told him they mistook him for a top politician they had information he was going to ply the route around 2pm on Sunday but they waited until around 4pm and did not see their target.
Okopopu said, “Yes, the priest was released yesterday (Tuesday) after the gunmen tortured him.
“His abductors said he was not their target and that they had information that a top politician was going to pass the road around 2pm.
“Unfortunately, when the gunmen could not see their target, they began to rob and the priest was the first to run into them and they dispossessed him of his belongings including the church money.
“They forced him into his vehicle, three men in the front, and three at the back, with one searching him. They all carried AK-47 rifles and speaking Hausa. Despite communicating with them in Hausa, they tortured and later released him with an apology that he was not their target.
“They gave him N4,000 to take care of himself.”