Unknown kidnappers who abducted two German archaeologists working in northern Nigeria this week have now demanded $200,000 for their release. Two villagers were shot and killed during the kidnapping.
A worker at the site where two German archaeologists were kidnapped this week said that the kidnappers had contacted the site's supervisor and demanded $200,000 (190,000 euros) to secure their release. The worker, who asked not to be named, told The Associated Press that the caller said police and security forces should not be involved.
German archaeologist and Professor Peter Breunig and his assistant Johannes Behringer, both associated with Frankfurt's Goethe University, were taken by armed men this week.
They are a part of a four-person team working with Nigeria's National Commission for Museum and Monuments to recover relics of the Nok culture, an early Iron Age people considered the earliest ancient civilization in what is now Nigeria. They are famous for their terracotta sculptures.
Investigators and police special forces have been combing the area around the village of Jenjela in the state of Kaduma. Local police have confirmed that two villagers were shot and killed during the kidnapping.
"The abductors came wielding guns and machetes and asked the two Germans to follow them into the bush," a village resident, who asked not to be identified for reasons of safety, told AFP.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Aliyu Usman from the Kaduna Police Command confirmed to the media on Thursday that the men had been kidnapped.
"We have launched a manhunt and we are hoping very soon to have a very good result," he added.
The Nigerian police have not made any further comments on the case. The German Foreign Ministry has also not commented.
A German engineer kidnapped in northern Nigeria in 2012 was killed by his kidnappers after the Nigerian military launched a failed rescue mission. One of two German oil workers who were kidnapped in Nigeria in 2006 was killed while the other was released unharmed.
Kidnappings for ransom are common in Nigeria, but victims usually are freed unharmed after a ransom is paid.
ot/tj (AP, AFP)