Two Indians abducted in Nigeria, confirms government (Lead, correcting day)

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) The government on Friday confirmed reports that two Indian nationals have been kidnapped in Nigeria and said that the Indian mission in the West African nation is closely coordinating with local agencies in the wake of the incident.

“Yes, in an unfortunate development, two Indian nationals, Mangapudi Srinivas and Kaushal Anish Sharma — natives of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka — were abducted on the morning of June 29 in the Benue state of Nigeria,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in his weekly media briefing.

“Both were on their way to work at the Benue Cement company, owned by the Dangote Group,” he said.

The Dangote Group is a Nigerian multinational industrial conglomerate, the largest in West Africa.

Swarup said that the employers of the two Indians immediately informed the Governor of Benue state, the State Commissioner of Police as well as the local head of State Security Service, the internal intelligence arm.

“Our mission in Abuja is closely coordinating with these agencies and the company, and we are hopeful of an early resolution to the issue,” he said.

Stating that no ransom demand has been made, the Spokesperson added: “There is nothing to show that the abductors were from the Boko Haram group and perhaps local criminal elements are involved.”

–IANS

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