Soldiers, police intensify search for kidnapped missionaries
Ijaw youths plead with militants to release them
The Delta State Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Zanna, has said that a combined team of soldiers and policemen are intensifying efforts to rescue the four kidnapped foreign missionaries abducted at Enekorogha community in Burutu Local Council of the state.
Zanna said intelligence revealed that the kidnap might not be unconnected with the present onslaught on militant activities embarked upon by the military under the Operation Crocodile Smile II.
However, the Delta State Police Command said it had apprehended the five-man gang of militants who kidnapped the four white missionaries.
The Police Commissioner, who said that the arrested suspects had been giving vital information and manhunt for the leader of the Karowei militants and kidnapping gang had also been heightened, said the leader of the Karowei gang was also the mastermind of the kidnap plot of the mother of the Majority Whip of Delta State House of Assembly.
Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has urged the suspected militants to release the missionaries without delay.
The IYC in a statement yesterday by its president, Eric Omare, appealed to the abductors to release the Britons with immediate effect, adding that there is no justification for this unGodly action.
He said the IYC would collaborate with security agencies, Ijaw traditional and community leaders in and around Enekorogha and other Ijaw communities in Burutu Local Council to fish out the perpetrators of the criminal act.
He said the IYC clan and community structures in Esembiri, Oporomor and Mein clans had been instructed to take actions towards the release of the kidnapped missionaries, adding that criminal conducts, such as kidnapping and killing of innocent people, are neither part and parcel of the Ijaw culture nor the Ijaw struggle for freedom.
Omare said: “It is criminal and highly condemnable for foreign missionaries who were offering free medical services and preaching the gospel of God in the riverine areas of western Ijaw to be kidnapped. There is no justification whatsoever for this ungodly action. It has nothing to do with the Ijaw or Niger Delta agitation hence it must be condemned by all well-meaning people.
“We also call on Ijaw traditional and community leaders to be vigilant so as not to allow criminal element the freedom to operate. Criminal conducts are bringing disrepute to the communities involved and driving away development from the communities concerned.
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