Islamist Group Claims Kidnap of Lebanese, Foreigners in Nigeriaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The Islamist group Ansaru on Monday claimed the kidnapping of seven foreigners, including two Lebanese, in a deadly raid on a construction site in northern Nigeria at the weekend.
In an email statement distributed to several journalists, the group said it has "the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts working with Setraco," the Lebanese-owned company targeted in the attack.
The group’s announcement came as a construction worker, who insisted on anonymity, said the gunmen let the Nigerian household staff members go in the attack in the town of Jama'are in Bauchi state late Saturday.
The gunmen shot dead a guard at the camp before kidnapping the foreign workers.
They came from the back of the building, as security guarded the front, he said.
The attack was one of the worst incidents targeting foreigners in northern Nigeria, a region that has seen waves of violence by extremist Islamist groups, but relatively few kidnappings.
Ansaru is considered a new group with a rising profile after it claimed the abduction of a French national in December and some view it as being directly linked to Boko Haram, the Islamist insurgents blamed for killing hundreds of people in northern Nigeria since 2009.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said Sunday only two Lebanese - Imad al-Indari and Carlos Abu Aziz - were among the abducted foreigners.
But police in Bauchi said four Lebanese, one Briton, a Greek citizen and an Italian were among those taken hostage by gunmen who stormed the site.
Ansaru's two-paragraph statement cites "the transgressions and atrocities done to the religion of Allah... by the European countries in many places such as Afghanistan and Mali.”
Residents in Jama'are, about 200 kilometers from the state capital, said Setraco had evacuated all of its staff from the company compound on Sunday.
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 spokesman.