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Gunmen in Nigeria’s Northeast Kidnap Seven Foreign Workers

Gunmen kidnapped seven foreign workers and killed a security guard at a construction company in Nigeria’s northeastern Bauchi state late yesterday, police said.

The hostages include four Lebanese, a U.K. national, a Greek and an Italian, Hassan Mohammed, a police spokesman, said today by phone from Bauchi, the state capital. They work for Setraco Nigeria Ltd., he said. The gunmen were repelled when they tried to attack a local police station, he said.

Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group, has carried out gun and bomb attacks in the north and the capital, Abuja, killing hundreds since 2009. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 160 million people, is roughly split between the largely Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south.

A British citizen and an Italian seized last year from the northwestern town of Birnin Kebbi were killed in the city of Sokoto in March by their captors during a failed rescue attempt by U.K. and Nigerian forces. Nigerian authorities accused Boko Haram of the abduction. The Islamists denied any involvement.

A German engineer kidnapped in the northern city of Kano in January last year was killed by his captors on May 30 when security forces made an attempt to rescue him.

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