7 foreigners kidnapped in Nigeria
updated 8:29 AM EST, Mon February 18, 2013
- 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.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 11:45 AM EDT, Fri May 24, 2013
When the former teacher Ingrid Loyau-Kennett saw the bloodied man wielding a knife, she tried to engage him in a conversation to distract him.
updated 6:53 AM EDT, Fri May 24, 2013
A man dressed up as a woman to expose sexual harassment in Egypt -- and says he can't imagine how women put up with the daily abuse.
updated 6:29 AM EDT, Fri May 24, 2013
The breakdown of the education system, growing youth unemployment and insecurity swelled Boko Haram, 'Funmi Olonisakin writes.
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Fri May 24, 2013
"It's always the one we feared, the lone wolf that can come from nowhere and not be on our radar," said ex-London police chief John Yates.
updated 2:13 AM EDT, Fri May 24, 2013
Christiane Amanpour and Nic Robertson give their insight on the brutal murder of a man in broad daylight. What's behind the horrific attack?
updated 6:54 AM EDT, Fri May 24, 2013
In India, a child goes missing every eight minutes. What is behind this devastating statistic felt most by the parents left searching?
Learn about one woman's tireless battle against sex slavery in the Philippines, with Manny Pacquiao in her corner. Watch the full version here.
updated 6:43 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
Ai Weiwei, the controversial Chinese artist-activist, has released a music single and video inspired by his harrowing detention by the government.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Fri May 24, 2013
Meet Ugandan Ruganzu Bruno who uses recycled materials to create functional pieces of art, raising environmental awareness through his art.
updated 8:27 AM EDT, Fri May 24, 2013
The Germans are coming, this time in the form of the first all-German Champions League football final -- and this time, London cannot wait.
updated 7:06 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
Bayern Munich's super fan Boris Becker takes a tour of London ahead of the 2013 Champions League final. What are his favorite spots?
updated 10:15 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
Imagine if you could paint a working light switch directly onto your wall, without any need for sockets, cables or wiring. Well, now you can.