Nigerian police: Expatriate kidnapped is British

AP News
Posted: Mar 26, 2013 2:10 PM

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — A British businessman was abducted Saturday in Lagos, a rare case of expatriate kidnapping in this West African nation's commercial center, Nigerian police said Tuesday.

Nigeria's police spokesman Frank Mba told The Associated Press that kidnappers probably followed their victim as he was leaving a nightclub in Victoria Island, one of Lagos' most exclusive and safest neighborhoods, at about 11 p.m.

Mba would not say if the kidnappers had demanded a ransom and did not give any other details.

The U.K. and U.S. governments had mentioned the kidnapping in separate security warnings issued Sunday, leaving out the victim's nationality.

Kidnappings for ransom are common in Nigeria, but most have occurred in its oil-rich southern delta. Lagos, a city of 17.5 million inhabitants, is in the country's southwest.

Mba said police are investigating, saying, "Lagos does not have a reputation for kidnappings and we want to keep it that way."

In recent years, Nigeria has had a spate of ransom kidnappings, which usually last for a few days and which have focused on the country's oil-rich region. However, Nigeria's north has also started to see politically-motivated kidnappings which typically last much longer. Kidnappings there have been linked to Islamic extremist groups rather than criminal gangs.

Britain's Foreign Office said in a statement Tuesday that "there is no indication of terrorist involvement at this stage." The statement did not confirm the victim's nationality or provide any new details.

The kidnapping comes a week after men claiming to be members of the radical Boko Haram Islamic network said in an unverified video that they would not free a kidnapped French family unless Nigeria and Cameroon freed all the group's members from their jails. The family was kidnapped on Feb. 19 in Cameroon, near the border with northern Nigeria.