Unknown kidnappers who abducted two German archaeologists working in northern Nigeria this week have now demanded US$200 000 (190 000 euros) for their release.
Two villagers were shot and killed during the kidnapping.
German archaeologist and Professor Peter Breunig and his assistant Johannes Behringer, both associated with Frankfurt’s Goethe University, were kidnapped by armed men at a site in Northern Nigeria.
They were working there with the Nigeria’s National Commission for Museum and Monuments to recover relics of the Nok culture, an early Iron Age people considered the earliest ancient civilisation in what is now Nigeria.
A worker at the site said the kidnappers had contacted the site’s supervisor and demanded US$200,000 to secure their release.
Investigators and police special forces have been combing the area around the village of Jenjela in the state of Kaduma. Local police have confirmed that two villagers were shot and killed during the kidnapping.
“The abductors came wielding guns and machetes and asked the two Germans to follow them into the bush,” a village resident, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons, told AFP.
Police assistant superintendent Aliyu Usman from the Kaduna Police Command said a manhunt was under way, adding that there would be a positive outcome ‘very soon’.
Kidnappings for ransom are common in Nigeria, a top oil producing and exporting nation, where the majority of the population live below the poverty line without jobs, electricity, adequate sanitation, clinics, schools and safe drinking water.
A German engineer kidnapped in northern Nigeria in 2012 was killed by his kidnappers after the Nigerian military launched a failed rescue mission. One of two Germans oil workers who were kidnapped in Nigeria in 2006 was killed while the other was released unharmed.
(Source: DW. Additional reporting and final editing by Issa Sikiti. Photo of Nigerian kidnappers by Newstime)