Gunmen stormed a construction site in northern Nigeria, kidnapping seven foreign workers and killing a security guard in one of the worst terrorist attacks in the restive region.
Nigerian police said Sunday the people kidnapped at the construction site in the town of Jama'are in Bauchi State site are Italian, Greek, British and Lebanese nationals. The relevant countries confirmed they had been informed of the kidnappings.
Police say the gunmen attacked a police station and a prison late Saturday before storming the site of a local subsidiary of the Lebanese construction company Setraco. At the site, they killed the guard before fleeing with the foreign workers.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the abductions. Foreign workers are more often targeted in Nigeria's oil-rich south where they are kidnapped for ransom.
But Islamist extremist group Boko Haram is active in the north where it regularly carries out attacks on Christians and sometimes on foreigners. In recent months a group called Ansaru, which has links to Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the abduction of a French national who is still missing.
In the local Hausa language "Boko Haram" means "western education is sin."
Security challenges have posed a deterrent to foreign investment in Africa's most populous country and over the years have caused huge financial losses.