Two Chinese mine workers kidnapped in southwest Nigeria

LAGOS, April 7 — Gunmen have kidnapped two Chinese workers from a gold-mining site in southwest Nigeria and shot their security guards, police said today, in the latest such incident in the area.

Kidnapping for ransom used to be common in Nigeria’s oil-producing south but has lately spread to other parts of the country.

The victims are usually released after a ransom is paid although police rarely confirm if money changes hands.

The latest abduction occurred on Monday at Okepa/Itikan village in Osun state, police spokeswoman Yemisi Opalola said in a statement.

She said “a gang of criminals, at about 4pm, attacked and abducted two Chinese nationals.”

“The two men, namely; Zhao Jian, 33, and Wen, 50, were working at a mining site,” she said.

The gunmen shot and wounded two private guards attached to the foreigners, and they had been hospitalised, the spokeswoman said.

“The police are on the trail of the perpetrators of the crime.”

Chinese firms are working in Nigeria on multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects that include mining, railways, airports and roads. 

Their workers have been repeatedly targeted by kidnap gangs.

On February 1, three Chinese citizens were abducted and their police escort killed following a dispute with local labourers at a mining site at the Atakumosa area of Osun state.

They were freed after spending almost one week in captivity.

Last July, four Chinese workers were abducted from a quarry site in southern Cross River state while their police guard was killed. They were released one month later. — AFP

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