A residence in Taraba State, which housed foreign workers, was stormed by gunmen, killing two police guards in an attack a company source said Thursday was a failed kidnap attempt.
Police in the state confirmed the raid on the village of Tella at the site owned by the Triacta engineering firm, but declined to provide details, including whether the three Lebanese engineers working there were the target. But an official from Triacta, who requested anonymity, told AFP that “based on what has been happening (recently in Nigeria) we have every reason to believe that our expatriates were the target. It was a clear case of a failed kidnap.”
“Last night, there were shootings around the house where the expatriate construction workers are living,” said resident Yonana Dauda. “Two policemen guarding the house were shot dead.” The company official and other residents confirmed those details to Reuters, adding that the Lebanese engineers ran when the gunfire broke out and escaped the incident unharmed. The state police command spokesman, Amos Olaoye, only said: “there was an incident in Tella last night… details is sketchy.” On February 16, gunmen raided a construction site in Bauchi State, abducting seven foreigners.
An Islamist group, Ansaru, seen as an offshoot of Boko Haram, a more prominent group of Islamic extremists that have killed thousands of persons in Nigeria since 2009, claimed responsibility for the raid. Separately, seven members of a French family, including four children, were abducted near the Nigerian border in Cameroun on February 19.
In a video posted on YouTube, the kidnappers claimed to be members of Boko Haram, but their affiliation remains unclear. Taraba has a long, border with Cameroun, but the targeted village, where Triacta has a bridge project, is deep inside Nigerian territory.