Spaniard feared kidnapped in Nigeria

2012-04-11 13:12
Madrid - Spain said on Wednesday that one of its nationals, reportedly a doctor, had gone missing in southern Nigeria and was feared kidnapped.

The disappearance of the man "has all the characteristics of a kidnapping for economic reasons", said Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo.

Spanish media reported that the missing man is a 58-year-old doctor who works for a clinic belonging to a foundation financially supported by Catholic institution Opus Dei in south-western Nigeria, a predominantly Christian area.

"The organisation he works for has asked for total discretion," the foreign minister added as he arrived in parliament.

"It is in the south of the country, not in the north, so there are no political implications of any type."

An insurgency by Islamist group Boko Haram, which is concentrated mainly in northern Nigeria, has left more than 1 000 people dead since mid-2009.

Police and soldiers are the main victims of the group, but it has also targeted Christians.

The man was taken hostage on 04 April by several armed men from his home in the south-western city of Enugu, Spanish newspaper ABC reported, adding that he worked at the Niger Foundation Hospital which was founded in 1993.

Spain's embassy in Nigeria was working with the local authorities to resolve the case and the foreign ministry was in "permanent contact" with the man's family, a ministry spokesperson said.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer, has been routinely gripped by ethnic and religious violence since it gained independence from Britain in 1960.

Read more on:    spain  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  abductions

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