Sunday, 17 February 2013

Nigeria Foreign Workers Abducted In Bauchi State - Police

Bauchi, Nigeria
A suicide bomb attack in Bauchi: radical Islamic sect Boko Haram has waged a guerrilla campaign of shootings and bombings across the region. Photograph: Str/EPA
Gunmen in northern Nigeria have attacked a camp belonging to a construction company, killing a guard and kidnapping seven foreign workers from Britain, Greece, Italy and Lebanon, according to local authorities.
The raid, which resulted in the biggest kidnapping yet in a region under attack by Islamic extremists, happened on Saturday night in Jama're, a town in a rural part of Bauchi state. Gunmen first attacked a local prison, burning two police trucks, said Bauchi state police spokesman Hassan Muhammed.
They then targeted a worker's camp for construction company Setraco, which is in the area building a road, Muhammed said. The gunmen shot dead a guard before kidnapping the foreign workers, he added.
Adamu Aliyu, the chairman of the local government, identified those kidnapped as one British citizen, one Greek, one Italian and four Lebanese.
Britain's Foreign Office said it was looking into reports that a UK national had been kidnapped.
Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north has been under attack by the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram in the past year and a half. The country's weak central government has been unable to stop the group's bloody guerrilla campaign of shootings and bombings. The sect is blamed for killing at least 729 people in 2012 alone.
Foreigners, long abducted by militant groups and criminal gangs for ransom in Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, have become increasingly targeted in the north of the country as the violence has grown.
In May, gunmen in Kaduna state shot and killed a Lebanese and a Nigerian construction worker, while kidnapping another Lebanese employee. Later that month, kidnappers shot a German hostage dead during a rescue operation. Gunmen who authorities say have links to Boko Haram also kidnapped an Italian and a British man last year in northern Kebbi state who were later killed during a rescue operation by Nigerian soldiers backed up by British special forces. The sect later denied taking part in that abduction.
Chinese construction workers also have been killed by gunmen around Maiduguri, the north-eastern city in Nigeria where Boko Haram first began.

The state capital has itself been attacked several times by Boko Haram, which wants to impose Sharia (Islamic law) across Nigeria.

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