A South African man who is among seven people kidnapped in Nigeria has been identified, Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesman Nelson Kgwete revealed in a tweet on Thursday.
However, he would not reveal the man’s identity.
“#NigeriaKidnapping We have established the identity of the SA national kidnapped in Nigeria. We have a copy of his passport.
“The kidnapped SA national is a 35-year-old male. We’re unable to reveal his full identity till family are informed.”
On Wednesday night, Australian media reported that three Australians, a New Zealander and a South African were among those kidnapped.
The incident was confirmed by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.
The men were working for the Australian mining and engineering company Macmahon, which was contracted to cement company Lafarge Africa.The attack happened in south-eastern Nigeria, close to the city of Calabar. About 30 militants reportedly carried out the ambush.
An escort police vehicle was unable to prevent the abduction. It is unclear why the men were kidnapped, but ABC said a ransom would probably be put to the Australian mining company – or the government – in due course.
A witness told ABC that the kidnapped men had been taken to a boat, although police had not confirmed that.
Militant group Boko Haram, which operates in the north-east of the country, is thought unlikely to be responsible for the kidnappings as they happened in the south.