Four Chinese nationals kidnapped in deadly attack in Nigeria

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ABUJA, Nigeria — Gunmen attacked a local mining site in north-central Nigeria, killing “many security forces” and kidnapping some workers, including four Chinese nationals, authorities said on Thursday.

According to Emmanuel Umar, the State Commissioner for Security, the attackers “entered” the mining area in Shiroro Municipality, Niger state, which is prone to such attacks, on Wednesday night and opened fire on those present, before catching some employees including Chinese fled.

A security team deployed to respond to the attack “deployed the terrorists and there were undisclosed casualties on both sides,” Umar said.

Locals and authorities in Shiroro told The Associated Press that bodies are still being recovered and the death toll remains unclear due to the area’s remoteness. The Niger governor’s office said in another statement that “many security personnel” were killed in the attack.

“Security forces have mobilized reinforcements to manhunt for the remaining terrorists … and rescue of the injured victims, including security personnel, who suffered various degrees of severity, were taken to a state medical facility for treatment,” the official said of the attack in the State bordering Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

Authorities did not disclose the name of the company, which has recently been the target of attacks on foreigners in Nigeria over the years, albeit not as frequently as previously. Three Chinese nationals were kidnapped in a similar attack in Niger state earlier this year while they were working at a hydroelectric power station.

In November, Chinese authorities issued a travel advisory warning their citizens and businesses against traveling to “high-risk areas” in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

Wednesday’s attack is the latest in a cycle of violence that has claimed hundreds of lives over the past year. A growing kidnap-for-ransom syndrome has also meant more victims have been held in captivity for months, including dozens kidnapped at a sloop reef near the capital in March.

Nigeria’s security situation has deteriorated under President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired military general who became president in 2015. Frequent attacks in north-west and north-central Nigeria are blamed on armed groups, which authorities said are mainly young semi-nomadic herders, a Fulani tribe at odds with farming communities over restricted access to water and land. Some of the rebellious herdsmen are now working with Islamist extremist rebels in the northeast of the country to attack remote communities. Four Chinese nationals kidnapped in deadly attack in Nigeria

Dustin Huang

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