German abducted by suspected extremists
A German development worker and two children of a Muslim cleric were kidnapped this week by suspected Islamic extremists in northeastern Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon, according to a Nigerian police spokesman and Cameroon state radio.
The kidnappings come as both Nigeria's military and Boko Haram extremists have been claiming victories on the battlefield in a rapidly spreading Islamic insurgency in Africa's most populous nation and biggest oil producer.
Boko Haram has attracted international condemnation for the abductions of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who have been in captivity for three months.
Witnesses report that a German worker at a technical-skills training centre was taken at gunpoint from his car in Gombi town of Adamawa state as he drove to work Wednesday morning, Deputy Police Superintendent Othman Abubakar said yesterday. The area has been attacked in the past by Boko Haram and the region has been under a military state of emergency since May 2013.
Police are in hot pursuit to try to rescue the hostage, he said.
The German Foreign Ministry confirmed that it is "aware of the case" but declined to comment further in line with its policy of not publicly discussing kidnappings.
The news was first reported by an online Nigerian website, 36ng, which quoted town residents saying the German was well-known because he helped the town, such as repairing wells at his own expense.
State radio in neighbouring Cameroon reported this week that Boko Haram fighters kidnapped two teenage children of a leading Muslim cleric from their home of Limani, near the border with Nigeria.
It was the first reported kidnapping by Boko Haram of Cameroonian citizens, though the extremists have long been known to use Cameroon as a base and to launch attacks in Nigeria.
There was no immediate claim for either of the abductions. Boko Haram rarely claims responsibility for kidnappings of foreigners that are believed to have earned it millions of dollars in ransoms in the past two years.