Gunmen Abduct American In Niger

An American citizen was on Tuesday kidnapped in the southern of the Republic of Niger, U.S. and Nigerien officials said.

The incident reportedly occurred near an area where militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are known to attack, the reports said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction happened in Birnin Konni, a remote town close to the West African country’s border with Nigeria.

Though other details about the American were scarce, the US embassy in Niamey confirmed the abduction of its citizen in the area.

In a statement, the embassy says the US government urges the “immediate and safe” release of the victim adding that it is working tirelessly with the authorities in Niger to secure his release.

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The US government is also in communication with the victim’s family, the statement says.

Some reports suggest six gunmen on motorbikes with AK-47 assault rifles kidnapped him from his rural home in southern Niger, leaving his wife, daughter and brother in the home.

The man is said to have lived in the village for several years keeping camels, sheep and poultry as well as growing mango trees.

It’s not yet clear who seized the American man. But Niger is battling various armed groups; and in that area – just across the border in Nigeria, kidnapping for ransom is rampant.

In August, six French aid workers, as well as their driver and local guide, were killed by gunmen in the Koure area of Niger’s Tillebery region, which attracts tourists who want to see the last herds of giraffe in West Africa.

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