Gunmen who killed two Chinese workers at a hydroelectric dam project in central Nigeria have kidnapped three other employees, police said on Thursday.
Criminal gangs looking for ransom payments often target expatriate workers at infrastructure projects in parts of Africa’s most populous nation.
Armed bandits on Tuesday afternoon attacked “workers composed of some Chinese expatriates and local staff” at a Sinohydro project in Niger state who were working on a transmission line tower, state police spokesman Wasiu Abiodun said in a statement.
“A 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 injuries,” Abiodun said.
The two local staff died later in hospital, the statement said, adding that three Chinese workers were abducted.
The workers were attached to the Zungeru hydropower project, a 700-megawatt hydroelectric facility being built with Chinese assistance on the upper and middle reaches of the Kaduna River.
Chinese employees have been targeted several times in Nigeria over the past few months as they work on multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects that include mining, railways, airports and roads.
Victims are usually released after a ransom is paid although authorities rarely confirm if money changes hands.
- AFP with additional editing by George Russell