Gunmen attacked the vehicles of a German worker and sub-contractor for a construction company in southwest Nigeria’s Ogun state, shooting one dead and kidnapping the other, a senior security source said on Monday.
The attack on the cars carrying the men, who worked with Julius Berger Nigeria but were travelling without their security escorts, occurred on Friday. They were heading to the Ogbere quarry where they worked in Ogun state.
One car was stopped by the gunmen shooting, and when the driver of the other car saw what had happened he attempted to turn around but the attackers also opened fire on that vehicle, killing the German citizen, the security source said.
Police in Ogun state, which lies just outside Nigeria’s coastal commercial capital of Lagos, were not immediately available for comment. Julius Berger confirmed the incident but did not mention the nationality of the victims.
“One expatriate, a sub-contractor to Julius Berger, was shot and has subsequently died; the other expatriate, a staff of Julius Berger, has been abducted,” the company said in an emailed statement.
“Julius Berger is currently working in close cooperation with the Nigerian authorities to make certain the safe and prompt release of the person abducted … (and) believes this to be an isolated criminal incident.”
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and leading energy producer, is one of the world’s worst countries for kidnapping, a criminal enterprise that nets many millions of dollars for the perpetrators. Fighting it is hampered by the fact that security forces are sometimes complicit.
Abductions by criminals are overwhelmingly concentrated in Nigeria’s more prosperous south. Most happen in the oil producing states, although they also occur around Lagos and the surrounding southwestern districts.
Pirates have launched a spate of attacks in the creeks of Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta region since last Thursday, killing three policemen and abducting at least nine people, security officials said.
In Nigeria’s largely Muslim north, kidnappings tend to be more political and linked to Islamist militant groups like Boko Haram. The group kidnapped more than 200 school girls in April, and are currently in talks with Nigeria’s government in neighbouring Chad for their release, although kidnappings of children have continued even while they talk.