Three men have been arrested on suspicion of kidnap after a priest was allegedly lured into a car and abducted on Christmas Day.
The incident happened in Hartington Road, Toxteth, at around 4.10am, after the priest, a member of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, was contacted by men believed to have been known to him.
A friend of the priest told the ECHO he had received a call in the early hours stating there was important information he needed to be told immediately.
Three men allegedly arrived to meet him on Hartington Road and asked him to get into the car, and he was driven towards Edge Lane and then onto the M62.
The friend told the ECHO: “When the car suddenly turned onto Edge Lane he tried to call the police, but they took his phone away from him.”
The priest, aged in his 30s, was driven to a location off the motorway before being returned to his home address at around 6.10am.
Merseyside Police said the victim was not believed to have been subjected to any violence during the alleged abduction.
Sources close to the priest said the incident is understood to be related to political upheavals in Eritrea, which has seen tensions between the church and Eritrea’s totalitarian one-party government.
A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: “Following enquiries, a 42-year-old man from Kensington, a 46-year-old man from Fairfield and a 47-year-old man from Edge Hill were arrested on suspicion of kidnap and have been conditionally bailed.
“Enquiries into the incident are ongoing.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information is asked to contact @MerPolCC on Twitter or ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook or call 101 with reference 21000888539
You can also call 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111, or their online form here.