Kidnappers have abducted two Americans and two Canadians in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna, killing two police officers, a police spokesman said on Wednesday.
The North Americans were ambushed by unknown gunmen around Kagarko on their way from the city of Kaduna to the capital Abuja, Reuters quoted Mukhtar Aliyu, a spokesman for the Kaduna state police, as saying.
The two police escorts attached to them engaged the kidnappers in a gun battle, according to Aliyu.
The policemen were security escorts to the expatriates who travelled to inspect a project being handled by their company in Kafanchan.
A company source who pleaded for anonymity said the expatriates, alongside the two police escort, were returning from Kafanchan, en route Abuja through Kagarko when they were ambushed by the gunmen.
An indigene of the area claimed the gunmen ambushed the vehicle of the foreigners along the Jere-Kargarko Road at about 7pm on Tuesday night while they were returning to Abuja from Kafanchan.
Two German archaeologists were kidnapped at an excavation centre in the same area of Kaduna State in February 2017. They had been working for the NOK Archaeological Centre in Kagarko for ten years and were researching Nok culture in Nigeria. They were released by their captors several days later ostensibly after the payment of ransom which the authorities denied.
A wave of insecurity is currently sweeping across Northern Nigeria. Gunmen, believed to be Fulani herdsmen, have killed more than 100 people in Benue, Taraba and Kaduna states since the beginning of January.
The deadly violence is due to the attempt of Fulani nomadic pastoralists to take over the land of farmers in the region. The crisis, which the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, has shown no willingness to take on headlong, has killed hundreds of people across the country in the past two years.