Saturday, November 20, 2010

AFRICA: NIGERIA: CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL ATTACKED BY ARMED BANDITS

ALL AFRICA REPORT: Bandits, armed with various dangerous weapons including guns and cutlasses yesterday invaded the Catholic Cathedral in Jalingo, carting away items and valuables worth several millions of naira.
The bandits, who arrived the Cathedral situated along Mile 6 in the ancient town at about 3.00am held residents of the cathedral, who are mainly priests and clergymen hostage before dispossessing them of their valuables at gunpoint.
Speaking to THISDAY in Jalingo, the Parish Priest, Reverend Charles Nyame, said the bandits gained entrance into one of the flats through the ceilings from where they eventually gained access into the other flats in the cathedral.
Nyame, who is also one of the victims of the attack, expressed dismay and wondered why clergymen would become susceptible to attacks from bandits particularly within the church cathedral.
He listed the items carted away by the bandits in the operation which lasted over one hour, to include laptops, mobile phones an undisclosed sum of money and various other valuables while they left their victims with varying degree of injuries particularly on their wrists as they were overpowered by the men of the underworld and tied to their beds.
Nyame, who is also the Secretary to the Bishop, said the robbers, who were armed to the teeth threatened to kidnap him if he fails to cooperate with them adding that no security operative was seen throughout the period the operation lasted.
Also speaking, some of the parishioners who rescued the victims from where they were strapped to their beds said they became wary and suspicious when the Priest failed to show up for the morning mass which commences at 5.00am daily just as they expressed fear of another attack by the robbers.
Another victim, Reverend Felix Gobi, who also narrated his ordeal to THISDAY said he could not fathom how the robbers gained entrance into the apartments saying "Frankly speaking, I am not suspecting anybody but as I am talking to you now, the police have already taken our statements and they promised to swing into investigation and I believe they would uncover those behind this "
Confirming the incident, a senior police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the absence of the DPO who was supposed to confirm the incident said the matter has been reported and that the police command would do everything possible to arrest those behind the dastardly act.
According to him "we are very much aware of what happened at the cathedral because the priest came here to report and our men were drafted to the scene to ascertain the gravity of the theft"

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