American aid worker kidnapped in Niger

Armed assailants abducted a US aid worker from his home Friday night in the West African nation of Niger, killing a police officer and a guard before fleeing west toward neighboring Mali, Niger’s interior ministry said.

Authorities are taking all necessary measures to locate the American and his abductors, including imposing a heavy military presence between Abalak, where the kidnapping took place, and the border with Mali, said a source who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The assailants stormed the aid worker’s home, the interior ministry said. The slain guard was the aid worker’s bodyguard, according to the source.

The American had been working with the locally based aid organization JEMED, said a spokesman for Youth With a Mission, which is affiliated with the group.

The aid worker has 29 years’ experience in Niger, spokesman Pete Thompson told CNN.

The kidnapping marked the first time a foreigner had been abducted in the area, the government source said. There has been no claim of responsibility so far.

[CNN]

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