US Citizen Kidnapped at Gunpoint in Southern Niger

Authorities in Niger say an American citizen has been kidnapped from his home at gunpoint and is being held for ransom.Philip Walton was seized Tuesday at his farm in the rural village of Massalata in southern Niger near the border with Nigeria, said Ibrahim Abba Lele, a police official in the nearby town of Birni Konni.  A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said Tuesday it is aware an American citizen has been abducted and is providing support to the person’s family.  No one has claimed responsibility. Niger is part of Africa’s Sahel region, which has been plagued by a growing number of attacks by insurgents linked to both Islamic State and al-Qaida. Six French aid workers and their Niger guide were killed by Islamic extremists back in August while visiting a wildlife park near the capital, Niamey.Walton is now the seventh foreign national being held captive by Islamist insurgents in Niger. 


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