Nigeria gunmen kidnap two U.S. and two Canadian citizens

Map of Nigeria locating Kaduna state

Map of Nigeria locating Kaduna state

Gunmen ambushed two Americans and two Canadians traveling through Nigeria's northern Kaduna state, kidnapping them and killing two policemen, a state police spokesman said Wednesday.

"They engaged in a fierce gun battle with the two police escorts attached to the expatriates, who unfortunately lost their lives", he added.

Aliyu reported earlier in the day that only two people were kidnapped, one American and one Canadian.

Two escorts with the Nigeria Police Force were reportedly killed by the armed kidnappers, before the foreigners were abducted.

"To protect the privacy of the individuals concerned, further details on this case can not be released", said Global Affairs spokesperson John Babcock said by email.

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A spokesman for the US Embassy in Abuja said he had no comment to make when contacted by AFP while there was no immediate response from the Canadian High Commission.

"The safety and protection of USA citizens overseas are among our top priorities", a State Department statement said. Two German archaeologists were seized at gunpoint a year ago less than 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Abuja and later freed unharmed.

There has been an increased spate of kidnappings in Nigeria, where both Nigerians and foreigners have been targeted. Three were released after negotiations, but the other, Ian Squire, was killed.

Safety on the Kaduna-Abuja road came under intense scrutiny past year when the federal government announced the closure of the capital's only airport for essential runway repairs.

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