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27 Oct 2020 | 06:32 AM UTC

Niger: US national kidnapped near Birnin Konni (Tahoua Region) October 27

US missionary and family kidnapped from residence near border town of Birnin Konni on October 27; security operations likely in near term

security
NER

Event

A US national was reportedly kidnapped from his residence near the Tahoua Region town of Birnin Konni on the morning of Tuesday, October 27, along with three members of his family. Security sources stated that the missionary was abducted from his home in the village of Massalata, around 5km (3 miles) from the border with Nigeria, in the early hours when six unidentified assailants broke into the property. However, details of the incident remain unclear and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Security operations are likely in the Birnin Konni area in the near term, with the potential for localized disruptions.

Context

Although Niger has experienced increasing militant activity, including attacks and kidnappings, in recent years, Tuesday's incident occurred in the south of the country, hundreds of kilometers from the restive Diffa and Tillaberi regions which have borne the brunt of the recent violence. Nevertheless, there remains a risk of kidnapping from criminal groups operating in various areas of Niger and across the border in neighboring Nigeria, as well as from militant groups such as Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), Islamic State Greater Sahara (ISGS), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Murabitoun, Ansar Dine, and Boko Haram operating more broadly across the region.

Advice

Those in the Birnin Konni area are advised to monitor developments, maintain a heightened level of vigilance, and review security arrangements in light of the incident and should heed any directives issued by local authorities.

The security environment in Niger remains complex and professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.

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