Skip to main content

7 foreigners kidnapped in Nigeria

From Hassan John, for CNN
updated 8:29 AM EST, Mon February 18, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The foreigners work for a construction firm in northern Nigeria, police say
  • The victims are from Italy, Greece, Lebanon and possibly Britain
  • Nigeria has seen a rash of killings and kidnappings
  • Violence is blamed on criminal groups or the Islamist militant group Boko Haram

Jos, Nigeria (CNN) -- Seven foreign workers were kidnapped late Saturday from a construction company in northeastern Nigeria, police said.

The workers include one Italian citizen, one Greek citizen and two Lebanese citizens, according to those governments. Nigerian police said a Briton was also kidnapped; British authorities said they were aware of such reports and were making inquiries.

Who are Boko Haram?

The workers were taken Saturday night from the offices of Setraco, a construction company in Jama'are, in Bauchi State, police said. The company is based in Abuja and is involved in many major road construction projects in northern Nigeria.

The gunmen first attacked a prison, burning two police trucks, public service broadcaster Voice of Nigeria reported, citing state police spokesman Hassan Muhammed.

Opinion: Nigerians still waiting for their 'African Spring'

They then killed a guard at the Setraco workers camp before kidnapping the workers, Muhammed told the broadcaster.

Nigeria has seen a rash of killings and kidnappings blamed on criminal groups or the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

A week ago, three North Korean doctors were killed at a hospital in northern Yobe state, the state police chief told CNN. Ten suspects were arrested.

Earlier this month, nine people working for a government polio vaccination program were killed in the northern city of Kano, a police spokesman said.

Opinion: Nigeria is a sinking ship, but we must not desert it

Nigeria launched a military crackdown on Boko Haram on New Year's Day. Security forces have since captured one of the group's leaders and killed 17 suspected Boko Haram members in a two-day offensive.

Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram -- whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" -- has killed more than 2,800 people in an escalating campaign to impose strict Islamic law on largely Muslim northern Nigeria.

Opinion: Why are Nigerians numb to slaughter?

In the past, the group attacked other Muslims it felt were on an immoral path. But it has increasingly targeted Christians with numerous attacks on churches, as well as striking police stations.

Boko Haram and other Muslim groups say the north has been starved of resources and marginalized by the Nigerian government. But the U.S. State Department has accused its leaders of having ties to the al Qaeda terrorist network and of hoping to drive a wedge between Nigeria's Christian and Muslim communities.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT