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Indians in Nigeria warned about violence

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Fri, Jan 18, 2013 09:20 hrs

Accra, Jan 18 (IANS) Indians in Nigeria have been told to to limit their exposure in areas where they could fall victims to violence caused by the Boko Haram rebel group.

The Indian High Commission said that last year "Indians living in Nigeria came under an unprecedented level of insecurity and were, occasionally, unfortunate victims".

One Indian was killed and six were injured in multiple attacks in Kano city.

In a statement, which it issued for the second year running, the high commission said:

"In recent weeks, some parts of Nigeria have witnessed an escalation in insecurity. A string of violent incidents have taken place in the northeast of the country. A sharp increase in cases of kidnappings in the coastal belt, particularly by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, have also been reported."

Earlier this week, Nigerian media reported that four people were killed by gunmen in the Riyom and Jos South areas in Plateau state in the north of the country.

In another incident, four policemen were killed by a group of Boko Haram operatives in the Yan'awaki area of Unguwa Uku on the outskirts of Kano city, also in northern Nigeria.

The high commission emphasised its previous advisories to Indian nationals in Nigeria "in view of these instances of escalating violence and criminality".

The high commission also mentioned an "unprovoked but apparently targeted armed attack" by unidentified armed men on the premises of Indian-owned Adebar Trades and Industries Ltd. in Borno state capital Maiduguri in July last year, where an Indian was injured.

"Indian crew members of ships plying in the Gulf of Guinea have also been victims of attacks and kidnapping by pirates," it said.

"Three Indian crew members of oil tanker SP Brussels were kidnapped on December 19 last year and they are still being held," the Indian mission said.

It said it cited these "unfortunate incidents" in a bid to illustrate the "serious and real security threats" in some parts of Nigeria.

Though the list was not exhaustive, the Indian mission said that "in most cases, Indians were passive victims of a situation or a criminal conspiracy, in some cases, a more prudent and cautious conduct could have avoided a calamitous outcome".

The high commission asked Indians living in the country to share any information in case they faced problems and also to contact officials at the mission's offices in Abuja and Lagos.

According to statistics provided by the Indian High Commission, there are about 35,000 Indians in Nigeria. Of these nearly 25,000 are Indian nationals and about 10,000 are thought to be foreign passport holders.

In general, Indians in Nigeria are well off and enjoy largely non-controversial existence.

There are over 100 Indian companies estimated to have footprints in Nigeria. Prominent among them being Bharti Airtel, Indorama, Olam International and Tata, Bajaj Auto. The others include Birla Group, Kirloskar, Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, NIIT and ApTech New India Assurance.

The rest include Bhushan Steel, KEC, Skipper Nigeria, Dabur, Godrej and Primus Super-speciality Hospital. Also, India has pole positions in Nigeria's pharmaceuticals, steel and power transmission sectors.

(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at fkokutse@hotmail.com)




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