American Aid Worker Kidnapped From His Home in Niger

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( — October 16, 2016) — Armed assailants abducted a US aid worker from his home Friday night in the West African nation of Niger, CNN reports.

The kidnappers attacked the house, killing a police officer and a security guard, before kidnapping a man who has 29-years work experience in Niger. Authorities confirmed the hostage is an American, however, his name has not yet been disclosed.  

After the attack, the kidnappers fled west toward neighboring Mali, according to Niger’s interior ministry.

Government sources told CNN that the police talked to a witness in Abalak. According to this anonymous witness, the abductors ordered the aid worker to strip down to his underwear, then forced him into their vehicle.

The source explained to the CNN reporter that striping down a kidnapping victim is the usual practice of terrorist groups trying to avoid being tracked.

Authorities imposed a heavy military presence between Abalak and the border with Mali, said the anonymous source, who confirmed that the attackers killed the hostage’s bodyguard and the police officer which suggests that the kidnapping was carefully planned ahead.

“It is not known where he has been taken and no group has yet claimed responsibility for his abduction,” Pete Thompson, spokesman for the Youth With a Mission, told CNN.

“His family have been informed and the US government is tracking the situation. Out of respect for his family no name is being released at this stage,” he said, adding that the kidnapped American worked for the locally based aid organization JEMED.

Thompson said that no one has claimed responsibility for kidnapping yet. The family of hostage has been informed and the US authorities are all over this case.

“Out of respect for his family no name is being released at this stage,” Thompson said.

The US authorities said that “the safety and security of US citizens overseas is among our highest priorities,” adding that there is no additional information as of yet, a department representative said.

“The terrorist organization Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has kidnapped Europeans in the region and continues to threaten to kidnap Westerners, including US citizens, in Niger,” the US State Department said. It warned US citizens not to travel to Niger.  

Boko Haram, the organization that pledges loyalty to IS (Islamic State) is active in the country. There is also a threat from Al Qaeda, the Department warns.