Rev Phillis Sortor
US Free Methodist Church missionary kidnapped in Nigeria Facebook/Clear Blue Global Water Project

Masked gunmen have kidnapped a US woman in the central Nigerian town of Emiworo, Kogi state, according to police reports.

The woman, a missionary, was taken away at around 10am (9am GMT) according to Kogi state police spokesman Sola Collins Adebayo, quoted by AFP.

King 5 News identified the woman as Reverend Phyllis Sortor, associated with the Free Methodist Church in Seattle.

The church also confirmed the news on their website: "Early this morning we received a report that Rev Phyllis Sortor, our missionary in Nigeria, was abducted from the Hope Academy compound in Emiworo, Kogi State, Nigeria by several persons."

The kidnappers broke into a school where the woman was working "shooting to scare people before taking the hostage away into the bush". The motives for the abduction are unclear but police suspect they might be related to a ransom.

The incident came after a suicide bomber in Potiskum town, in the north east of the country, killed more than a dozen people at a crowded bus station.

A witness told the BBC the bomber tried to get on the bus but was pushed away, detonating the bomb. The attack has been blame on the Boko Haram Islamist group.