Gunmen free kidnapped Imo monarch, 7 cabinet chiefs, guards

By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri

The Umueze Nguru autonomous community in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State was on Saturday morning thrown into celebration mood following the return of its traditional ruler, Eze Charles Iroegbu, who was kidnapped last Wednesday.

The popular monarch, who is the owner and CEO of All States Mass Transit, was kidnapped alongside his five cabinet chiefs and two palace guards.

They were kidnapped at Seven and Half Junction along Umuahia-Anara-Orlu Road, after attending a traditional wedding ceremony in Ehime Mbano LGA of the state on Wednesday.

They were in three vehicles and were heading back to the kingdom when the gun-wielding men waylaid them and diverted their movement.

The kidnap of the monarch heightened tension in the state following a spate of insecurity in the state.

The community lived in fear and apprehension as their abductors refused to establish communication with the royal family or anybody in the kingdom.

But reprieve came on Saturday morning, as the monarch, his five cabinet chiefs and two palace guards were freed.

A source in the palace who confided in our correspondent on Saturday said that the entire community was “jubilating over the safe return of his royal majesty, the cabinet chiefs and the two palace guards.”

Another source elated by the news said, “Go and tell it to the whole world, my king, our king, the symbol of authority in our kingdom has been released. His cabinet chiefs and two palace guards who were kidnapped alongside with him on Wednesday were also freed by the kidnappers. They returned to the kingdom this morning.”

The spokesperson of the police in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, said he could not confirm the release of the kidnap victims when our correspondent, contacted him on Saturday morning.

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