Gunmen shoot dead 2 Chinese workers in northeast Nigeria, region under assault by radical sect

Gunmen have shot dead two Chinese construction workers in northeast Nigeria, a region under assault by a radical Islamist sect.

Authorities initially blamed the killings Wednesday on the sect known as Boko Haram. However, the group did not claim responsibility for the attack, which saw gunmen intercept the Chinese workers' truck and open fire on them at the town of Benisheik.

Borno state police commissioner Yuguda Abdullahi acknowledged the killings happened, but declined to comment further.

Other Chinese workers have been killed in recent weeks in northeast Nigeria, prompting the Chinese government to contact Nigerian officials and ask them to provide better protection for their citizens.

An Associated Press count shows Boko Haram is blamed for killing more than 730 people this year alone.