Nigeria: Gunmen abduct Catholic nuns, motive unclear

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Police in Nigeria said on Monday (August 22) that gunmen had abducted four Catholic nuns in the country’s southeast. This is the latest act of violence in the region when separatist tensions are on the rise. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country frequently witnesses cases of abduction. However, members of Christian churches have been increasingly targetted in recent weeks.

Most hostages are released after a ransom payment, but some have been killed.

“Four reverend sisters of the Catholic church were abducted,” Imo state police spokesman Michael Abattam told AFP.

He said the nuns were seized near Okigwe city on Sunday on their way to mass.

“We are on the trail of the kidnappers with a view to freeing the victims,” he said.

The police did not immediately say what was the motive behind the abduction. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Southeast Nigeria has seen a surge in violence blamed on the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group or its armed wing ESN.

IPOB seeks separate region for ethnic Igbo people. The group has repeatedly denied responsibility for the violence in the region.

More than 100 police officers and other security personnel have been killed since the beginning of last year in targeted attacks in the region, according to local media tallies.

Prisons have also been raided with scores of inmates freed and weapons stolen.

(With inputs from agencies)

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