Two American and two Canadian citizens have been freed after being kidnapped in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna, a police spokesman said, as it emerged that five oil workers had been abducted in the southern Niger Delta region (pictured).
The Americans and Canadians were ambushed by unknown gunmen on January 17, while traveling from the town of Kafanchan in Kaduna state to the capital, Abuja. Kafanchan is more than three hours’ drive northeast of Abuja.
In a separate incident, police in the Delta state said five Nigerian oil workers from local firm Sahara Energy were kidnapped next day. Delta state police said no arrests had been made so far.
Kidnapping, usually for ransom, is common in parts of Nigeria, though abductors usually target other Nigerians. However, the kidnapping of foreigners is not uncommon.
Mukhtar Aliyu, a spokesman for Kaduna state police, said the Americans and Canadians were freed on January 19.
“There’s a high threat of kidnap throughout Nigeria. Recent terrorist kidnaps have occurred mostly in northern Nigeria, but could occur anywhere. There are reports that Boko Haram is actively planning to kidnap foreigners, including in Bama Local Government Area of Borno state, along the Kumshe-Banki axis” – says UK FCO travel advice.
“There’s a high threat of terrorist kidnapping in areas where there is a Boko Haram presence or Islamic State West Africa (ISWA). As well as north east Nigeria, this is believed to include some northern and middle belt states including Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Niger and Adamawa states.” FCO warns travellers.