Gunmen have killed a local driver and kidnapped as many as seven people in Calabar, Cross River State of Nigeria. At least three of whom kidnapped are Australian citizens and one an Australian resident, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday.
There was some initial confusion over the number of victims and nationalities of those involved, as police in Nigeria gave conflicting accounts.
The workers, two of whom police said later escaped, were contractors for cement company Lafarge Africa. They were attacked on the outskirts of the city of Calabar at around 05:30 a.m. (0430 GMT), police said.
Calabar is a coastal city 570 kms (354 miles) east of Lagos, and the capital of Cross River State in the Niger Delta region, where both criminal gangs and militants have been active.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the incident a “very serious kidnapping” in response to a journalist’s question and urged calm in reporting the incident.
“These are the facts as we know them: three Australians and one Australian resident were among seven people kidnapped in an attack on an Australia contractor’s operations in Nigeria. One person was killed in the attack,” Turnbull told reporters.
Two expatriates managed to flee, said Irene Ugbo, a spokeswoman for Cross River state police, adding that she did not know the nationality of any of the workers feared still held.
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