Five Chinese workers were kidnapped in Nigeria's oil-rich and volatile
southern state of Rivers early on Friday morning.
A source in the Chinese embassy in the capital city of Abuja said the victims
were from a Chinese telecom company and that armed kidnappers also stole
property worth thousands of US dollars.
Li, an official with the consular department, told China Daily that a group
of six people were working on an electricity project when they were attacked by
the gunmen around 5 am.
One worker managed to hide from the kidnappers and escape.
Li said the Chinese Foreign Ministry and his embassy had launched emergency
action to rescue the kidnapped workers.
He said the ambassador and embassy staff, as well as the employer of the
kidnapped workers, were in contact with the Nigerian Foreign Ministry, the local
government and local police to secure their release.
No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping so far, but Li said the
perpetrators were expected to seek a ransom.
Armed robbery and abductions for ransom are common in the oil-producing state
of Rivers in Niger Delta.
Li said abductors taking Chinese nationals as hostages tend to seek a ransom
rather than pressing political demands.
This is the first abduction of workers from a Chinese enterprise in the
region, he said.