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China to bring security experts as Nigerian gunmen kidnap three Chinese from dam site

Workers at the Greater Lagos Railway project by a Chinese construction company in Nigeria (Photo: @CCECC8/Twitter)

Gunmen kidnapped three Chinese nationals and killed two Nigerians in a gun battle at a hydroelectric dam project in central Nigeria. A police statement on Thursday said that the incident took place on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the police, the workers were installing a transmission tower when the gunmen opened fire, killing two local workers. “Police tactical team attached to the facility engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel while four of the expatriates were rescued with one of them and two local staff sustaining bullet injury,” state police spokesman Wasiu Abiodun said in a statement.

The Voice of America reports that the gunmen were heavily armed. The police and intelligence officials are now working to rescue the kidnapped Chinese by seeking information from local communities.

The kidnapping happened exactly at a time when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was on a tour to African nations.

China is deeply worried over crimes against Chinese citizens in Nigeria. Last year Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun told media persons that his country is likely to bring in criminal investigation experts to interact with Nigerian security agencies, reports the local media.

The ambassador reportedly said that the Chinese government is worried about the security situation in Nigeria due to the increasing insurgencies and also concerned about Chinese nationals working in the country.

Nigeria media says that criminal gangs often target foreign workers at infrastructure projects in a bid to extort ransom. Foreigners are released after a ransom is paid though no one publicly acknowledges that money was paid for the safe release of their workers.

Large foreign companies, including Chinese firms, have become vulnerable to such attacks. Chinese employees have been targeted as they work on highly-conspicuous multi-billion-dollar infrastructure work that include oil projects, mining, railways, airports and roads.

Insurgencies in the oil-rich West African country are only increasing despite being run by Muhammadu Buhari–retired military general and now President. 

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