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Gunmen in Nigeria kidnap 2 Germans

Last Updated: Monday, April 19, 2010 - 09:17

Port Harcourt: Gunmen in Nigeria kidnapped two German men in the OPEC member`s southeastern Abia state, security sources said on Sunday, the second abduction of foreign workers in the last 10 days.

The two men, aged between 45 and 55, were abducted while at a local beach in the oil-producing Abia state.

"The Germans were kidnapped at Azumini Beach strip at Imo River as they were heading to their vehicle," a security source said. "This was likely an opportunist abduction as there was no security around, just a local driver."

Police could not immediately be reached for comment. The German Foreign Ministry said it was aware of the reports of the kidnapping and was looking into the incident.

Kidnappings for ransom are common in the Niger Delta, home to Africa`s biggest oil and gas industries, with hundreds of incidents reported each year. Most victims are released unharmed after a couple of days.

Foreign firms, ranging from oil to construction to telecoms, are forced to spend millions of dollars a year on security for their staff because of the high crime in the Niger Delta.

Four Syrian and Lebanese construction workers were kidnapped on April 09 and released five days later in Abia state. It was not clear whether a ransom was paid for their release.

For years, gangs targeted primarily expatriate workers but recently wealthy Nigerians have been more common victims.

In neighbouring Rivers state, police said a Nigerian couple was abducted on Sunday in Eleme, near the country`s oil hub Port Harcourt.

The kidnappers freed the wife and demanded she pay them 50 million naira (USD 333,333) for her husband`s release. Police spokeswoman Rita Inoma Abbey said security forces were investigating.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, April 19, 2010 - 09:17
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