Swiss man kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria

Security officers stand guard at the scene where a German archaeologist and his associate were kidnapped in Nigeria in 2017. Foreign nationals in Nigeria are sometimes targeted for abduction by heavily armed criminal gangs. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

A Swiss man has been kidnapped in southwestern Nigeria. Gunmen opened fire on his police escort.

This content was published on August 9, 2021 - 18:43

The Swiss foreign ministry on Monday confirmed reports about the abduction last week, also involving a Nigerian driver, on a road linking the towns of Ibese and Itori in Ogun State. They had been part of a small group visiting a cattle breeding facility.

A spokesman for the Nigerian state police announced the latest kidnapping case on Sunday. 

“They were intercepted [...] Two of the bandits were killed, but they managed to kidnap two people, a Swiss and another person,” he added. “The police are on their trail.”

Foreign nationals in Nigeria are sometimes targeted for abduction by heavily armed criminal gangs, generically referred to as “bandits”, who usually operate in the northwest and central parts of the country. These criminal gangs have mainly targeted schools and universities this year, where they carry out mass kidnappings.

Abductions for ransom have become a big problem in many areas of Nigeria in recent months, fuelled in part by economic hardship linked to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A thousand pupils and students have been kidnapped since December, most of whom have since been released. In addition to the bandits terrorising parts of the country, for the past 12 years Nigeria’s security forces have also faced an Islamist insurgency in the northeast of Africa’s most populous country.

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