UK warns its citizens against going to Delta state

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The British government has warned its nationals in Nigeria not to travel to Delta State because of criminal kidnap gangs.

In an advisory issued today, the British Foreign Office (FCO) said there is a “high threat of criminal kidnap” in the area.

The advisory is coming on the heels of the death of a British charity worker killed by militants in the state after being taken hostage.

The victim, Ian Squire, an optician from Surrey who was doing charity work in the oil-rich Delta region, was kidnapped along with three others last month.

Today the Foreign Office (FCO) confirmed Mr Squire had been killed after the rural community was stormed.

The other three who were kidnapped, Alanna Carson, David Donovan and Shirley Donovan, have been released.

The FCO confirmed Mr Squire was taken in the raid in the early hours of October 13.

He founded Christian charity Mission for Vision in 2003 and has organised teams to take old glasses to remote areas in Africa from donations to his opticians’ surgery in Shepperton, Surrey.

The British High Commission and Nigerian authorities negotiated the release of the three other Britons.

David, 57 and Shirley Donovan, 57, live in Cambridge, where David is a GP at the Riverside Practice.

The pair founded their Cambridge-based Christian medical charity New Foundations.

The foundation and Mission for Vision have set up a “vision centre” accessible only by boat in the Nigerian region from where eye clinics were carried out in the remote village of Ekameta.

A FCO spokesman said the Nigerian authorities were investigating the kidnapping, saying it had been a “traumatic time” for those involved.

“Our staff will continue to do all we can to support the families,” said the spokesman.

It is understood the four were taken when raiders stormed a rural community they were living in within the Delta area at about 2am local time.

Relatives of the four said they were “delighted and relieved” that Ms Carson, Mr Donovan and Mrs Donovan had returned safely.

“Our thoughts are now with the family and friends of Ian as we come to terms with his sad death,” they said in a statement issued on their behalf.

“This has been a traumatic time for our loved ones who were kidnapped and for their families and friends here in the UK,” it said.

The FCO currently advises against all but essential travel to much of Delta state, saying there is a “high threat of criminal kidnap”.

Source: Delta Decides

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