Gunmen kidnap eight foreigners in Nigeria (19th February, 2013)

Armed attackers kidnapped eight foreign workers in northern Nigeria on Sunday. The abductees were taken from the residential compound of a Lebanese construction company. A security guard was killed as he tried to prevent the assailants from entering the camp. The kidnapped workers are believed to be from Britain, Greece, Italy and Lebanon. A woman and her daughter are among them. A local government official, Adamu Aliyu, said the attack occurred at 2:15am. The gunmen also attacked a police station and a prison on their way to the compound. A police chief said: “We repelled the attack…but they burnt two vehicles.”

This attack is the worst ever case of foreigners being kidnapped in the north of Nigeria. Kidnappings for ransom occasionally occur in the south, especially in the areas that support the country’s oil industry. Violence in the north has largely been of the nature of attacking churches and police stations, and kidnapping locals. No one has yet taken responsibility for yesterday’s raid, but security experts believe one of northern Nigeria’s Islamist groups is behind it. The Al Qaeda splinter group Ansaru has been active in recent months. The larger group Boko Haram, which means ‘Western education is forbidden,’ has been the most active in the area. It is reportedly responsible for hundreds of deaths, and church bombings.