Firm evacuates staff from Nigerian site

2013-02-18 12:31

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

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 occured 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.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  abductions
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Caledon - 10:04 AM
    Road name: R316 Westbound
    HEAVY DELAYS between the R326 Highway and Caledon due to holiday traffic volumes
  • Thursday Newlands - 09:48 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    SLOW TRAFFIC on Wynberg Hill
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

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.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








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.