Foreign national kidnapped in the Niger Delta

A US national working for the Japanese conglomerate, Marubeni, was kidnapped in the city of Warri, located in Nigeria's Delta state, on 20 January. The man was reportedly abducted after having been followed from Sapele town to Warri city by unidentified gunmen who also reportedly killed the man's security escort. The gunmen have since reportedly demanded a ransom payment of 50 million naira (approximately 310,000 US dollars). The Niger Delta region, located in the south of the country which includes Delta state, is one of the most active kidnapping hotspots in the world. High levels of insecurity in the Niger Delta have enabled militant and criminal groups to conduct abductions with near impunity in recent years. Although wealthy locals are predominantly targeted, more than 300 foreign nationals have reportedly been kidnapped in the region since 2006. Militants specifically target oil installations and related infrastructure for the purpose of kidnapping foreign nationals to force political concessions, generate publicity and, increasingly, to solicit ransom payments. Due to the threats from kidnapping and conflict, clients are advised against all travel to the Niger Delta, including Delta state. Persons operating in the region are advised to implement robust security measures at all times