German national grabbed in Nigeria

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Abuja/Berlin - Gunmen kidnapped a German national on Wednesday in the north-east Nigerian town of Gombi, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Gombi is close to an area that has been plagued by Islamist Boko Haram insurgents for the past year.

The German foreign ministry said it knew about the case but gave no details. Nigerian police had no comment and officials at the German embassy in Nigeria could not immediately be reached.

Deutsche Welle, quoting a witness, said the attackers forced the man out of a car at around 7am, then took him away on one of their motorbikes. He had been teaching at a technical college, the broadcaster reported, without naming him.

The town in the northern part of Adamawa state lies in an area which suffers periodic attacks by the militants, who are based in the Sambisa forest 200km to the north. Adamawa, along the Cameroon border, has been under a state of emergency since May last year.

Though it was not clear who was behind the abduction, Boko Haram or criminal groups linked to them primarily fund their operations from kidnapping, security officials say, targeting local business people, politicians and sometimes Europeans.

They claimed the kidnapping of a French family in January 2013, and a French priest in November that year. Two Italian Priest and Canadian nun were kidnapped by suspected Boko Haram gunmen in April this year.

Nobody admitted paying any ransoms, although security sources suspect all fetched multi-million-dollar prices.

West African nations are increasingly concerned that Boko Haram, which has killed thousands in a fight to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria, poses a threat to the entire region.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sinful” in the Hausa language, stirred an international outcry by kidnapping more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in northern Nigeria on April 14. The girls remain in captivity. - Reuters

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