Gunmen have kidnapped two Chinese mine workers from a gold-mining site in Nigeria’s southwestern Osun State and shot their security guards, according to a statement released by police on Wednesday. Yemisi Opalola, a police spokeswoman, said the abduction occurred on Monday at Okepa/Itikan village.

“A gang of criminals, at about 4 pm, attacked and abducted two Chinese nationals. The two men, namely Zhao Jian, 33, and Wen, 50, were working at a mining site. The police are on the trail of the perpetrators of the crime,” Opalola said.

“Two private guards attached to the site were shot and have been taken to the general hospital for treatment,” she added.

Opalola said that Olawale Olokode, Nigeria’s Commissioner of Police, had drafted a strong and combined reinforcement of police forces who have embarked on a search and rescue operation for the two abducted Chinese workers and the possible arrest of all the fleeing suspects.

“The Commissioner of Police has also asked members of the public to collaborate with the police in fighting crime to bring it down to the barest minimum, by providing us with credible and prompt information that can lead to the rescue of the abductees, (and ensure they are) unhurt,” Opalola said.

The recent abduction raises concerns held since Feb 9, when Nigerian police freed three Chinese workers who had been kidnapped the previous week from a gold-mining site in Osun state. Last July, four Chinese workers were abducted from a quarry site in southern Cross River State, while their police guard was killed. They were released one month later.