Gunmen yesterday kidnapped the catholic priest of St Michael’s Catholic Parish in Umuekebi, Osuoweerre community in Isiala Mbano council area of Imo State, Rev Kingsley Eze.
The priest and another man identified as Uchenna Newman, who drove him in a Volvo car were kidnapped at Orie Ama junction.
The criminals also robbed shop owners at the junction before leaving the scene.
Leadership Weekend gathered that the priest and his friend had made a stopover at the junction to buy something from roadside traders when the gunmen struck.
Sources who pleaded anonymity said the gunmen operated with two motorcycles as they started shooting sporadically on arrival.
An unconfirmed source said a passer-by was hit by a stray bullet and was rushed to hospital.
A trader who pleaded anonymity said robbery and kidnapping had become frequent in the area. Some people including Mr Ezeji from Mbeke community and Mr Buchi, a popular butcher at Umuelemia junction had paid huge ransoms to secure their release from gunmen.
Efforts to get the reaction of the police command proved abortive as the spokesman, Henry Okoye, said he was in a meeting and would respond later.