Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) – Two Germans have been kidnapped while working at an archaeological site in northern Nigeria, police said on Thursday.
“I can confirm to you the abduction of two Germans at Jenjela village in southern Kaduna on Wednesday,” state police spokesman Usman Aliyu told AFP.
Aliyu said the men had been working at the site in Kaduna state for more than 10 years and had been assigned security personnel because of a spate of kidnappings in the area.
But he said they had instead used local villagers as escorts.
Residents said two women, also thought to be German, were with the men when they were attacked.
“The abductors came wielding guns and machetes and asked the two Germans to follow them into the bush,” said one resident, who asked not to be identified because of security fears.
“Surprisingly, they did not kidnap the two female German colleagues of the men. They fired shots into the air to scare off the villagers before abducting the Germans.
“Two village hunters who decided to go after the abductors were shot dead.”
The kidnapping took place near the road linking Kaduna airport, which lies to the north of the state capital, Kaduna city, with the capital Abuja.
Safety on the road has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks since the federal government announced the closure of Abuja’s only airport for essential runway repairs.
All domestic flights will be diverted to Kaduna airport from March 8 for six weeks but international carriers have refused to re-route their services.
Questions have been raised about the airport’s ability to handle long-haul flights as well as security on the Abuja road after a wave of kidnappings.
There has also been a renewal of deadly violence between Fulani herdsmen and farmers over land and grazing rights in southern Kaduna that has killed at least 200 people since December.