Six Hyundai workers kidnapped in southern Nigeria

Niger map

Gunmen in southern Nigeria have kidnapped four foreigners and two Nigerians employed by South Korean construction firm Hyundai, police say.

The incident took place "in a forest" on the Atlantic coast of the oil-rich Bayelsa state, police official Fidelis Odunna said.

"The police are going to beef up security around all companies that have expatriates," he said.

Kidnappings are common in the Niger Delta, Africa's main oil region.

Bayelsa has one of the largest crude oil and natural gas deposits in Nigeria.

Mr Odunna did not specify the nationality of those kidnapped.

But South Korea's Yonhap news agency, citing unidentified foreign ministry officials, said that four South Koreans had been abducted.

A fisherman said he witnessed the abduction.

"We were on the waters fishing close to Odioma Creek when we noticed two boats with armed men [who] shot into the air and stopped the passenger boat conveying the Hyundai workers to their yard," he told the AFP news agency.

Nigeria is one of the worst countries in the world for kidnapping, where it is a lucrative criminal enterprise worth millions of dollars a year.

Oil workers and other foreign nationals working in the southern region are often targeted because companies will pay high ransom money to secure their employees' release.

Earlier this month, the mother of Nigeria's Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was snatched from her home in the Delta state.

Kamene Okonjo was freed on Friday after gunmen held her for five days.

The minister said the kidnappers had demanded her resignation.

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