Kidnappers of expats in Nigeria make no contact: police

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Nigerian police said Tuesday the kidnappers of a Briton and an Italian engineer seized last week in the north of the country have not contacted anyone on the motive for the abduction.

"They have not made any attempt to contact us or anybody related to the two hostages," police commissioner for Kebbi state, Adamu Hassan, to AFP.

Five days ago gunmen stormed an apartment where the two expatriates working for a construction firm were staying.

A German colleague managed to escape by scaling a fence, while a Nigerian engineer was shot and wounded in the incident in the city of Birnin-Kebbi, the capital of Kebbi state.

Police said a search for the foreigners was ongoing.

"We believe the kidnapped foreigners are in Nigeria and we are doing everything possible to track down the kidnappers and rescue the hostages," added Hassan.

No demand for ransom has been made since the two were kidnapped Thursday.

According to the police, a large amount of cash in the lodge where the two expatriates working for the firm were staying was not taken.

"Up to this moment we do not know who the kidnappers are or what their motive is for the kidnap," said Hassan.

The firm they work for, B. Stabilini, was founded by Italians but is located in Nigeria.

The workers were involved in the construction of a Nigerian central bank building in the capital of Kebbi state, located in Nigeria's far northwest near the border with Niger.

Kidnappings for ransom have occurred frequently in and around the oil-producing Niger Delta region in the predominately Christian south, but have been rare in the mainly Muslim north of Africa's most populous nation.

Scores of kidnappings for ransom of foreign oil workers have been carried out in the Niger Delta, though a 2009 amnesty deal led to a sharp decline in unrest there.

Most of the kidnap victims in the Delta have been released after a ransom was paid.

© 2011 AFP

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