Unidentified gunmen abducted a Lebanese construction engineer in the northern Nigerian city of Kano on Tuesday, in an attack that left one dead, police and witnesses said.
Four gunmen stormed a road construction site in the city at about 7:40 am (0640 GMT), seizing the engineer who was supervising work on the site.
“There was a kidnapping incident at Dangi Roundabout this morning and the victim is a Lebanese engineer,” Kano state police spokesman Abdullahi Haruna told AFP.
“One person was killed and another injured in the attack,” said Haruna. The victim was at the site without any assigned security, he added.
Police have opened an investigation to identify the gunmen and rescue the victim.
Witnesses said a Nigerian construction worker was killed and another injured, after they tried to prevent the gunmen from entering the site.
Kidnapping for ransom is widespread in the oil-rich southern delta region, where criminal gangs seize expatriate oil workers and wealthy Nigerians in exchange for hefty payments.
The trend has also been on the rise in the north in recent years, flourishing as the economy has struggled, particularly in rural areas with inadequate security provision.
In April last year gunmen kidnapped a German construction engineer in Kano after killing his police escort in an attack the police blamed on a gang of armed robbers.
In Birnin Gwari, an area in Kaduna state, also in the northwest, entire villages have been deserted for fear of raids and kidnapping by criminal gangs.
The gangs often roam on motorcycles and are known to operate in northern Kaduna and neighbouring Zamfara states.
Abductees are often released within days if the ransom is paid but residents say they can be killed if no money is forthcoming.
The attacks in the northwest have been a challenge to recently re-elected President Muhammadu Buhari, who enjoys mass support in the region.
He has pledged to tackle insecurity from kidnappers and criminal gangs but with few details.