BEIRUT: Two Lebanese and two Syrians were among the seven kidnapped employees of Lebanese-Nigerian construction firm Setraco, the company’s CEO, Said Khalaf, told The Daily Star Monday.
“Our main concern is the safety of these seven people,” Khalaf said in a phone interview from Nigeria, referring to the weekend kidnapping in northern Nigeria which Islamist group Ansaru has claimed responsibility for.
The kidnapped include a Briton, an Italian, and a Greek.
According to National News Agency Sunday, the Lebanese Embassy in Nigeria told Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour the two Lebanese that had been kidnapped were Imad al-Indari and Carlos Abu Aziz.
Khalaf was not able to provide the names of the two Syrians, who may have initially been mistaken for Lebanese in early news reports claiming four Lebanese had been taken.
Armed gunmen attacked the company’s compound, located in Jama’re in northern Nigeria, Saturday night, killing a security guard and taking the seven employees hostage.
Khalaf went on to say they have had no contact with the kidnappers since the raid but he is confident the seven are still alive based on previous kidnappings targeting foreign companies.
The company has been working in Nigeria for over five years and the compound that was raided was home to about 18 employees, he added.
He declined to discuss the compound’s security system, based on the advice of the Nigerian authorities who are investigating the case.
“This is the worst attack on foreign companies yet,” said Kalaf.
“I don’t think there is a reason; we don’t have a motive and anyways it is too early to speculate.”
The Islamist group Ansaru said Monday it was behing the kidnapping of the seven foreigners, reported Agence France Presse.
In an email statement distributed to several journalists, the group said it has "the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts working with Setraco.” - With AFP