Police in Nigeria say security forces have been deployed to rescue a group of people abducted by gunmen from a hospital in the central state of Niger.
Witnesses said about 20 people including health workers, patients and relatives were kidnapped during a gun raid at Gulu General Hospital in Lapai area in the early hours of Tuesday.
But a police spokesperson in Niger state said that nine people were abducted including a medical doctor.
In a statement he said “one of the female victims was later abandoned with her twoyear old baby by the abductors”.
According to the police, efforts were underway to “rescue the remaining seven hostages”.
The authorities say at least two people were killed during the raid.
A resident told the BBC a patient also died as they were being transferred to another health centre after the violence.
The attack has shocked many in Nigeria.
The state governor Abubakar Sani Bello condemned it as “callous and inhuman”.
Niger is one of the states badly affected by a sustained wave of killings and kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs in Nigeria.
Analysts say the kidnapping of health workers could be a strategy by the gangs to have professional medical services in their hideouts.