Gunmen shot dead two Chinese construction workers in a town in Nigeria’s volatile northeast on Wednesday, police and company officials said, the latest such killing in the region in recent weeks.
“It was around 10.30am, some unknown gunmen trailed them to the yard and opened fire, killing two Chinese engineers,” an official with the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation said.
“I received report of an attack on some Chinese construction workers in Benishek this morning. I am still awaiting details of the attack,” Borbo State police commissioner Yuguda Abdullahi said.
The company official said four Chinese engineers had arrived at the Benishek site from their base in nearby Damaturu early Wednesday before the attack.
“This morning four of our engineers left their base in Damaturu and arrived our yard in Benishek with the intention of taking along some construction workers to different sites where they were working,” he said.
He said two of them were killed while the other two fled.
“The attackers took away one of our company vehicles,” he said, adding that it was the second such attack in recent weeks.
“This is the second attack on the yard by gunmen in just two weeks. Last month some gunmen attacked the same yard, killing two mobile policemen guarding the place,” he said.
He said that incident forced the foreigners to relocate to Damaturu, some 70km from Benishek.
Although no group has claimed responsibility, Nigeria’s northeast has seen scores of deadly gun and bomb attacks by the Islamist group Boko Haram.
Gunmen shot dead a Chinese construction worker in the violence-wracked city of Maiduguri on October 19.
On October 7, a Chinese national was also killed in the town of Gubio, near Maiduguri, in what appeared to be a robbery.
The killings of the Chinese nationals prompted Beijing to lodge a diplomatic protest to Nigerian authorities.
Violence linked to Boko Haram is believed to have left more than 2,800 people dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces.
The sect has claimed to be seeking an Islamic state in Nigeria, though its demands have repeatedly shifted.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, is divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.