Nigerian gunmen have kidnapped a Swiss national after opening fire on his police escort in the southwest of the country, police said on Sunday.
Kidnappings occur mostly in the northwest and central states of Nigeria where heavily armed criminal gangs operate and foreign workers are also occasionally targeted for abduction for ransom.
The Swiss national and another person were taken on Saturday as they were coming from a farm on the Ibese-Itori road in Ogun state, Ogun police spokesman Abimbola Oyeyemi told AFP.
“They were intercepted… Two of the bandits were killed, but they succeeded in abducting two, a Swiss national and another person,” he said.
“The police are on the trail of these people.”
A Swiss foreign ministry spokesperson said they were aware of media reports about a kidnapping.
“The Swiss embassy is in touch with the Nigerian authorities. Verifications are ongoing,” the spokesperson said.
Kidnap gangs are just one of the challenges facing President Muhammadu Buhari’s security forces who are also battling a 12-year jihadist insurgency in the northeast of Africa’s most populous nation.
Gangs this year have targeted schools and colleges to snatch dozens of students at a time. Around 1,000 students have been abducted in a string of mass kidnappings since December, though most have been freed after negotiations with their captors.