ONITSHA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Gunmen have kidnapped a Lebanese manager from a construction company in southern Nigeria after an attack in which three soldiers were wounded, the military and a security source said.
The man was seized from the premises of the Nigerian-owned but Lebanese-run construction firm Setraco in Benin city on Monday, military spokesman Captain Roseline Managbe said. She had earlier suggested the attack had taken place on Tuesday.
The company was not immediately available for comment.
The security source said two of the three soldiers shot in the kidnapping later died of their wounds, although Managbe denied this. The military rarely admits significant casualties on its own side.
"We suspect the attackers to be criminal kidnappers, not an Islamist group," Managbe said. "Army authorities have been deployed in order to rescue the hostage."
Nigeria is one of the worst countries in the world for kidnappings, a lucrative criminal enterprise worth millions of dollars a year. Abductions are most rife in the oil states of the southeast, but sometimes happen in Lagos and the southwest too.
Kidnappings by Islamists in the majority Muslim north are much rarer. The Islamist militant group Ansaru seized seven foreign Setraco construction workers in February in a remote part of northern Bauchi state, and says it killed them all.
(Reporting by Anamesere Igboeroteonwu; Writing and additional reporting by Tim Cocks in Abuja; Editing by Kevin Liffey)