Belfast Telegraph

Engineer shot dead in south Nigeria

An Irish engineer was shot dead after he was ambushed in south east Nigeria, it has emerged.

The victim, named locally as Robert Gray from Westport, Co Mayo, was killed and his driver seriously injured in the gun attack.

The 45-year-old had worked for a number of years in Nigeria and was involved in road construction projects with Irish company PW.

He was married to a nurse, Westport native Jeanette Kearns, and the couple had two daughters who are due to start secondary school. It is understood he was recently home for the girls' confirmation earlier this year.

Westport parish priest Fr Karl Burns visited the family after they received the tragic news.

"News of this tragedy is only seeping out today and it's a great blow for the family," Fr Burns said. "It is a very sensitive time, and they need privacy and our prayers."

The exact details of the gun attack, near the Cameroon border, is not yet known. A spokesman at the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it is providing consular assistance to Mr Gray's family.

His body is expected to be repatriated early next week.

Minister of State Michael Ring said he knows the Gray family well.

"The town is devastated by his death," he said. "It's a very tight knit community. It's very sad for his family. We couldn't believe when we all heard."

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