Four British missionaries are kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria

Four Britons have been kidnapped in Nigeria’s southern Delta state, a police official said on Wednesday.

The police are attempting to rescue the four people, who were taken by unidentified gunmen on October 13, said Andrew Aniamaka, a spokesman for Delta state police,

The four had been providing ‘free medical care and religious activities’ in the Burutu area of Delta state, said Chief Theo Fakama, from the local Enukorowa community.

Fakama said locals were ‘saddened’ by the kidnapping as the victims had ‘brought succour to residents of the community for the past three years’.

Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria. A number of foreigners have, in the last few years, been kidnapped in the Niger Delta region, which holds most of the country’s crude oil – the country’s economic mainstay.

‘The abductors have not made any contact but we are doing our investigations to know the motive and have them rescued without jeopardising their lives,’ said Aniamaka.

‘Information available to us shows they are missionaries giving free medical services.

‘The victims are of British nationality, two of whom are a couple, and have been rendering humanitarian services in the area for a while.

‘But unfortunately, they didn’t let the authorities know of their presence in the area all this while.

‘There is a militant group that has been operating in the area and we believe they are the ones behind the abduction.

‘Immediately the militants struck, they whisked the victims to the interior regions of the creek where we believe they are being held for the past five days.’

There was an increase in crime in the southern region last year that coincided with a series of attacks on energy facilities. However, there have been no militant attacks on energy installations so far this year.

On October 14, the Vatican said an Italian priest was kidnapped by gunman just outside Benin City, which is the capital of Edo state and neighbours Delta state to the north.

Delta state commissioner of police Zanna Ibrahim told reporters in the state capital, Asaba, on Tuesday: ‘An anti-kidnapping team is already on the trail of the suspects.’

He suggested the abduction could be linked to a recent military operation against violent crime, which has seen an increase in troops in southern Nigeria.

Nigeria also saw the infamous kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in the town of Chibok in 2014.

Source: Dailymail.co.uk

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