Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.

 

Foreigners kidnap: Firm evacuates staff

18 February 2013, 13:23

 Kano - A construction company has evacuated all of its staff from a northern Nigeria site after gunmen blasted into the facility and kidnapped seven foreigners, residents told AFP on Monday.

Police in Bauchi state, where the attack occured late on Saturday, said their top priority was securing the release of the hostages, who reportedly include four Lebanese, one Briton, a Greek citizen and an Italian.

The raid on the compound of the Lebanese-owned firm Setraco was one of the worst attacks targeting expatriates in northern Nigeria in recent years and may indicate a changing strategy by the radical Islamic groups in the region.

Boko Haram Islamists, who are blamed for hundreds of deaths since 2009, have repeatedly attacked Bauchi, but have never acknowledged abducting a Westerner.

A group seen as an offshoot of Boko Haram, Ansaru, claimed the kidnapping of a French national in December and some analysts fear this splinter faction has prioritised foreign hostages, like other al-Qaeda-linked groups in North Africa.

The kidnapping of expatriates have typically occurred in Nigeria's oil-rich south, with the hostages released following a ransom payment.

Residents in the town of Jama'are, about 200km from the state capital, said 12 vehicles arrived at the Setraco facility on Sunday and evacuated all the staff, excluding those native to the town.

Main priority

It was not immediately clear how many of the remaining workers were foreign and an official at Setraco's office in Nigeria's capital declined to comment, also refusing to provide contacts for the company spokesperson.

"Now all the company employees, who are not from Jama'are have left. Soldiers and policemen are conducting patrols in the town," said resident Haruna Garba.

The assailants stormed a police station and a prison in Jama'are before raiding the Setraco compound, police said.

When the kidnapping operation began the assailants struggled to gain access to the site, then shot dead a security guard and used explosives to blast a hole through the rear gate, residents and police said.

"There was a gaping hole... because the kidnappers used explosives to blow up the rear when the occupants refused to open the gate," said Sale Nagaidam, who visited the site on Sunday and witnessed the heavy security deployment.

Bauchi's police spokesperson Hassan Auyo told AFP on Monday that it was too early to speculate on who was behind the attacks.

"Our main priority now is to secure the release of the hostages," he said, adding that a manhunt had been launched.

Several residents said that Setraco had last year evacuated its foreign staff from the Jama'are site following a rise in deadly attacks blamed on Boko Haram and that the expatriates returned to the region about four months ago.

No claim of responsibility

The governments of Greece and Italy have confirmed that their citizens were among those taken hostage.

Beirut has acknowledged that two Lebanese nationals were seized, but has not matched the police figure of four, while the British foreign office has said it is making "enquiries" before confirming that a Briton was abducted.

There was no claim of responsibility for the weekend violence, but attention will likely turn to the emerging group Ansaru, which said it kidnapped a French engineer in the northern state of Katsina late last year.

As a justification for the abduction, Ansaru cited France's backing for a military intervention against Islamist rebels in Mali.

Little is yet known about Ansaru, although many suspect it emerged from a faction within Boko Haram.

- AFP

NEXT ON NEWS24 NIGERIAX

Ebola outbreak nears end in Nigeria

30 September 2014, 21:30

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Martin Beck Nworah
Why do men rape?

Our ladies are suffering in silence and nobody cares to pay attention. When you dare to listen,what you will hear will terrify you and send shock waves down your spine...can you stand it? Read more...

Submitted by
Peregrino Brimah
Boko Haram, big oil and the Chad ...

Oil reserves exist in the Chad basin, which is centered in lake Chad which is surrounded by Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria. Read more...

Submitted by
Peregrino Brimah
The #JanjaweedConnection: Boko Ha...

A lot has happened really quickly in recent weeks in regards to the unraveling of the Boko Haram deadly sect. We have several breaking news events that all fit as pieces of the treacherous puzzle Read more...

Submitted by
Sunday Eyitayo Michael
"A Reject's Heart Cries"

Cuddled by the life's suffering as though she's never letting go. Tight embrace from pain; I could feel her innermost warmth. Read more...

Submitted by
Jibunor George Chuks
Sleep, wake up and see things cha...

As we all know, life is a journey which has its different paths. Which ever way you choose to follow will determine where you'll end up at the end.  Read more...

Submitted by
Jibunor George Chuks
Dream dreams

Even if you like dream dreams, without the desire and the drive to soar higher; be rest assured that is better to have a nightmare because it can actually make you to wake up on time. Read more...