No Filipino among Nigeria kidnap victims: DFA

Posted at 02/19/2013 7:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines - There is no Filipino among the foreign workers kidnapped by militants in Nigeria, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez issued the statement after reports came out that a Filipino was among the victims.

"The Human Resource Officer of Setraco, the Lebanese employer of the kidnapped foreign workers, informed the Philippine Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria that no Filipino was kidnapped from their site in the town of Jama'are in the northern Nigerian state of Bauchi, contrary to the report of some news organizations," Hernandez said.

An Islamist group linked to al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for kidnapping 7 foreigners in an attack in a remote Nigerian town over the weekend.

The raiders used explosives to blast their way into a housing compound in a hail of gunfire.

Gunmen killed a security guard and abducted a Briton, an Italian, a Greek and four Lebanese workers after storming the compound of Lebanese construction firm Setraco in Jama'are in Bauchi state late on Saturday.

It was the worst case of foreigners being kidnapped in the mostly Muslim north of Africa's most populous country since an insurgency by Islamist militants intensified two years ago.

"By Allah's grace (we) have the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts working with Setraco," read a statement from Ansaru, a group that has kidnapped other foreigners in Nigeria.

The kidnapping was "based on the transgression and atrocities done to the religion of Allah by the European countries in many places such as Afghanistan and Mali," the statement said.

Attacks by Islamist groups in northern Nigeria have become the biggest threat to stability in Africa's top oil producer. - with a report from Reuters