By Tom Bannister
Three North Korean doctors have been found dead in Nigeria after they were attacked in their homes by machete-wielding thugs. The deaths follow other recent killings of Chinese aid workers in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa.
The murders occurred on Chinese New Year’s eve (Saturday night). The medical professionals were found the next morning in their apartment, hacked to death, their wives hiding in the nearby courtyard. At least one doctor had been decapitated.
The three were employed under a partnership between the DPRK government and Nigerian regional authorities to work in a hospital in Potiskum, located in Yobe state in the country’s troubled northeast. They had been living in the town for over a year. Local police say that no arrests had been made, nor has any group claimed responsibility for the killings.
The tragic New Year’s eve murders follow other recent deaths of Chinese workers in Africa, including a few months ago in Nigeria. China has massively increased its presence in the continent over the past decade and has found itself increasingly enmeshed in its troubles.
Islamist group Boko Haram is amongst the chief suspects for Saturday’s killings. The group has been waging a campaign of terror across Nigeria. Last week they slaughtered nine nurses in Kano, the biggest city in northern Nigeria. They had been vaccinating locals against polio.
[Note: Nigerian colleagues of the murdered doctors initially identified them as being South Korean, while the police report claimed the three were Chinese, a Yobe State medical official has since confirmed that the men were North Korean]