…As 4 migrants die, and 16 missing after boat sinks off Spanish coast***
The Police Command in Enugu State says abducted Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Malachy Asadu, serving under Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, has been released.
Asadu was abducted on Monday by unknown persons in Nsukka town.
The Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu, who confirmed the release on Wednesday, said that the priest was released in the evening, and had since been reunited with the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka.
“The kidnapped Nsukka Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Malachy Asadu, has been released and reunited with the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka this evening,’’ he said.
The police spokesman, however, did not give further details on the release.
Similarly, another abducted Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Theophilus Ndulue, was released and reunited with the Catholic Diocese of Enugu 10 days ago.
While about a month ago, Rev. Fr. Arinze Madu, Deputy Rector, Queen of the Apostle Spiritual Year Seminary, Imezi Owa in Ezeagu Local Government Area, was released by his abductors. Madu was kidnapped at the seminary’s gate on Oct. 29.
In another development, four persons were confirmed drowned after a boat sank off the coast of Melilla, a spokesman for the Spanish Interior Ministry said.
News agency Europa Press reported on Wednesday that a helicopter was searching the sea for another 16 migrants after the accident, which saw a boat capsize in the Alboran Sea, 60 kilometres north of the Spanish exclave in North Africa.
The Spanish maritime rescue service brought 65 people to safety shortly before midnight on Tuesday, including six women and three small children.
Most of the migrants who were rescued are now in hospitals in Melilla and the condition of three of the adults is “serious,” the authorities said.
The number of migrants crossing the western Mediterranean to Europe has fallen significantly compared to 2018.
According to the International Organisation for Migration, 23,000 migrants reached Spain this year up until Nov. 24, half as many as the same period in 2018.
This can mainly be attributed to improved cooperation with Morocco, the organisation said.
Additional reports from dpa