Kidnappers abduct American, Canadian in Nigeria, 2 police killed: police official

The motive for the kidnapping which occurred near Kagarko is unknown

The American and Canadian were ambushed by unknown gunmen around Kagarko on their way from the city of Kaduna to the capital Abuja, Mukhtar Aliyu, a spokesman for the Kaduna state police, said by phone.

Local police, however, say two foreigners kidnapped Tuesday evening in Kaduna State were a Canadian and an American.

He said security officers, including an anti-kidnapping unit, have been deployed to the area to ensure the perpetrators are apprehended while the two foreigners are rescued unharmed.

In Washington, a State Department official referred to the abduction of only one U.S. citizen.

John Babcock, a spokesman for Global Affairs Canada, told the on Wednesday they were aware of the reports of the kidnapping. "The safety and protection of USA citizens overseas are among our top priorities", he added.

Kidnapping has always been a problem in Nigeria's southern states, where high-profile individuals, including the families of prominent politicians, are regularly seized.

Victims are usually released after several days once a ransom is paid.

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But as the economy stalled in recent years, the crime began creeping north.

In October, kidnappers took four Britons in Delta state in the south.

Aliyu reported earlier in the day that only two people were kidnapped, one American and one Canadian, but revised the numbers based on updated information. One of them was killed while three others were released after negotiations.

The incident occurred around Kagarko, along Kaduna-Abuja road on Tuesday night.

Many foreign missions and companies advised staff to limit their travel during the closure period, as all domestic and some worldwide flights were switched to Kaduna.

The Abuja-Kaduna Road has always been a haunt for kidnappers.

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