Gunmen kidnap Swiss national in southern Nigeria: police

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Nigerian gunmen have kidnapped a Swiss national after opening fire on his police escort in a southwestern state, police said on Sunday.

Kidnappings are increasingly common in the northwest and central states of Nigeria where heavily armed criminal gangs operate and foreign workers are also occasionally targeted for abduction for ransom.

The Swiss national and another person were taken on Saturday coming from a farm on the Ibese-Itori road in Ogun state, state police spokesman Abimbola Oyeyemi told AFP.

READ | Kidnapped Nigeria Chibok girl free after seven years: governor

"They were intercepted ... Two of the bandits were killed, but they succeeded in abducting two, a Swiss national and another person," he said.

"The police are on the trail of these people."

A spokesman for the Swiss foreign affairs ministry could not confirm the incident.

ANALYSIS | Military not a magic bullet: South Africa needs to do more for long term peace

Kidnap gangs are just one of the challenges facing President Muhammadu Buhari's security forces who are also battling a 12-year jihadist insurgency in the northeast of Africa's most populous nation.

Gangs this year have targeted schools and colleges to snatch dozens of students at a time. Around 1,000 students have been abducted in a string of mass kidnappings since December, though most have been freed after negotiations with their captors.

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