NIGERIA (Country risk rating: High); 18 to 20 May; Foreign nationals kidnapped in Kogi and Kebbi states

Authorities confirmed the kidnapping and release of foreign expatriates in Nigeria‘s respective Kogi and Kebbi states, according to reports released on 19 May. In the first incident, a Sri Lankan national employed by the Burni Coli Construction Company was seized near the Kogi State settlement of Yari. The victim, whose security escort was killed and driver wounded during the abduction, was seized while travelling between Okene to the neighbouring state of Ondo. In a separate incident, authorities confirmed the 15 May release of an Irish national. The victim, a Catholic priest, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on 12 May. There is a high threat of kidnapping across Nigeria. Although it remains unclear who was behind this latest abduction, both organised criminal syndicates and Islamist militants are known to conduct kidnappings and have an operational presence in the region. Both groups periodically abduct locals and foreign nationals for the purposes of ransom and extortion. Due to various security concerns, all non-essential travel to Nigeria is advised against. Persons in or planning to travel to the country are advised to implement comprehensive travel, residential and personal security measures and consider the use of a security escort, particularly if travelling outside of major urban centres. Clients are further advised to avoid travel after dark as far as practically possible. – by red24