New terror group linked to al Qaeda, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan, JAMBS, also known as Ansaru has claimed the recent kidnapping of seven foreign workers in a raid that saw a security guard killed.
“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 in the past.
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.
Italian, Filipino, British, Greek and Lebanese workers are thought to be among those being held after the attack in the northern state of Bauchi.
They were working on a construction project when the militants attacked on Sunday, reports say.
Ansaru, an Islamist group, emerged last June and recently carried out a raid in which it kidnapped a French national.
The group announced it was behind Sunday’s kidnappings in an email sent to journalists, saying it had “the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts” working with construction firm Setraco.
On Monday, BBC reports that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office would still not confirm or deny reports that a Briton was among those held.
The raid was preceded by an attack on the local police station, when two vehicles were blown up, in the town of Jama’are, some 125 miles (200km) north of the state capital, Bauchi.
The attackers then moved on to a camp belonging to Setraco, killing a guard and seizing the workers. Setraco is currently expanding a major road in the area.
Ansaru’s full name is Jama’atu Ansarul Musilimina Fi Biladis Sudan, which roughly translates as “Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa”.