Four British nationals have been kidnapped from a remote village in Nigeria, police and community leaders have said.
It is thought the victims, who were providing “free medical care and religious activities”, were abducted by militants five days ago.
Chief Theo Fakama, from the local Enukorowa community of Delta state, said residents were “saddened” by the disappearance of people who had “brought succour” to the community for three years.
While a motivation was not immediately clear, kidnapping for ransom has long been considered a risk in the south of Nigeria where wealthy or high-profile individuals and families are frequently targeted.
An Italian priest was reported by the Vatican to have been kidnapped by gunmen outside Benin City, which neighbours Delta state, on 14 October.
In cases of these abductions, victims are usually returned after a few days when a ransom is paid.
Andrew Aniamaka, a spokesman for Delta state police, said the victims had not told Nigerian authorities that they were living in the area.
“There is a militant group that has been operating in the area and we believe they are the ones behind the abduction,” he said.
“They whisked the victims to the interior regions of the creek where we believe they are being held for the past five days.”
The Delta state commissioner of police said an anti-kidnapping team “is already on the trail of the suspects”.