Four Turkish construction workers were seized by gunmen in a bar as they relaxed over drinks in a remote village in Nigeria’s middle belt, authorities told CNN.
The men were taken by a gang of six armed men in a raid on a bar in Gbale village in the Edu area of Kwara state on Saturday, according to the state’s police spokesman Ajayi Okasanmi.
“They were relaxing at the bar when they were rounded up by a gang of six armed men and taken away,” Okasanmi told CNN.
Security operatives including Nigeria’s special anti-kidnapping squad have been deployed in the search for the men, he said.
No ransom has been demanded as yet and the kidnappers have not made contact with police, Okasamni said.
Saturday’s abduction comes more than a week after 10 Turkish nationals were abducted from their ship by armed men off the coast of Nigeria on July 15. Police and the Nigerian Navy told CNN that investigations were still ongoing.
In recent months, several high profile Nigerians, foreign nationals and others have fallen prey to gangs orchestrating a wave of kidnappings in the West African nation.
A new kind of terror
Nigeria is currently beset with insecurity woes; as well as the spate of kidnappings, there is a 10-year battle against Boko Haram in the northeast and a growing pastoral conflict in its central states.
In recent months, many high profile Nigerians have been targeted by kidnappers with some demanding ransom. The chairman of Nigeria’s education board and his daughter were seized by armed men while traveling on the Kaduna-Abuja highway in May, but were later rescued by the police.
The 72-year-old mother of ex-international Nigerian footballer Samson Siasia was taken from her home in Bayelsa State last week.
Her abductors have demanded a $340,000 ransom and her whereabouts still remain unknown, according to local media reports.
A Canadian and a Scottish oil worker were abducted from a rig in Niger Delta area in April, and two Shell workers were also kidnapped in the oil-rich region in the same month. A British aid worker was also shot dead at a holiday resort in Kaduna.
President Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected in March and promised to tackle the security challenges.
“The security of the country is on my mind 24 hours of the day. I get daily and weekly situation reports. I have listened to your brief. I will look into your recommendations. I am acutely aware of the situation,” Buhari said in an interview in May.
CNN has reached out to the president spokesman for comment but has yet to receive a response.
Vice president Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday said the government was committed to improving the security situation facing the country and his office is holding talks with traditional rulers to address the problem.
“There are significant security concerns all over the country and on the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari, we have begun consultations with traditional rulers who are eager to contribute to the improvement of the security architecture,” Osinbajo said.