Two people including a British aid worker were shot dead and four tourists abducted from a resort in northwestern Nigeria in an attack on Friday, police have said.

Gunmen stormed the Kajuru Castle Resort, 60 kilometres southeast of Kaduna City at 11.40pm on Friday, Kaduna state police spokesman Yakubu Sabo told reporters today.

The unnamed British expatriate worker "was gunned down from the hill by the kidnappers who tried to gain entrance into the castle but failed", Mr Sabo said.

"They took away about five other locals but one person escaped," he added.

A Nigerian man believed by local residents in Kajuru to be the British woman's partner was killed in the attack, where a group of 13 tourists had arrived from Lagos, southwest Nigeria the police spokesman said.

In Kaduna and the wider northwest region, kidnapping for ransom has become an increasing threat as well as on the road to the capital, Abuja, where armed attacks have thrived.

Kidnapping in the region has spread from Nigeria's oil-rich south, where wealthy locals and expatriate workers are often abducted.

Northern criminal gangs made up of former cattle rustlers have been pushed into kidnapping after military crackdowns on cattle theft.

Kajuru is also flash point in the deadly conflict over increasingly limited land resources in Africa's most populous country, between herders and farmers, predominantly across central and northern Nigeria.

The conflict has increasingly taken on ethnic and religious dimensions in the region, with the Fulani Muslim herders in conflict with Christian Adara farmers in Kajuru.

Tourists are rarely affected by the herder-farmer violence and Kajuru Castle resort has attracted many foreign and local visitors.

Yet police have struggled to thwart kidnappers in the region.

In January four western tourists - two Americans and two Canadians - were abducted by gunmen in an ambush in which two of their police escorts were killed