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After 53 days, abducted Catholic reverend sisters regain freedom

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Three Catholic reverend sisters and three other females, who were kidnapped by gunmen in Edo State last November, have been released.

The sisters of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus Convent in Iguoriakhi, Ovia South-West Local Government Area of Edo State, abducted on November 14, 2017, regained their freedom after spending 53 days in the kidnappers’ den.

It was learnt that one of the victims, Aloysius Veronica Ajayi, was released around 6:00p.m. on Saturday, while the other five were released before 12a.m. on Sunday.

The Superior-General of the convent, Sister Agatha Osarekhoe, confirmed the development to newsmen yesterday. Osarekhoe said the sisters returned unhurt and were received by their colleagues.

The kidnapped sisters were identified as Aloysius Veronica Ajayi, Frances Udi and Roselyn Isiocha, while the other three females, identified only as Vivian, Mariam and Anna, were aspiring to join the convent before the incident occurred.

Breaking the news on Facebook, Sister Mary Agatha Osarenkhoe, Superior General of The Catholic Herald, Lagos, wrote: “On January 6, 2018, around 6:00p.m. we got news that Sister Veronica Ajayi EHJ, has been released by her abductors. We thanked God greatly for His mercies to us in the new year, and continued our prayers for her other sisters.

Just before 12 midnight same day, we got yet another joyful news – the other two sisters, and three aspirants had been released as well. They were all fine and in good health.

“We thank all the men and women of goodwill who worked and prayed tirelessly behind the scenes for the release of our sisters. We thank the mother superior of the EHJ for her patience and strong will, and her sisters for their solidarity during these days of trial. We thank the Catholic Archdioceses of Benin and Lagos for their support and prayers, and indeed the Catholic and non-Catholic World, for their vigilance and prayers.

“One more appeal – please raise your voices and help us say a very big thank you to God for his awesomeness. His mercies endure forever. God bless you, and happy Feast of the Epiphany.”

Their abductors had reportedly demanded N20 million for their release. It was not clear as at press time yesterday the amount paod to secure their release.


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