April 11, 2018 / 10:01 PM / 11 days ago

German national kidnapped in western Niger - Niger attorney general

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Armed men on Wednesday kidnapped a German man in western Niger near the border with Mali, Niger’s attorney general said.

Cheibou Samna said the kidnapping was carried out by men riding motorcycles about 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of the town of Inates. Samna identified the kidnapped man as Joerg Lange, a humanitarian worker.

He provided no further details. Germany’s foreign ministry had no immediate comment.

Jihadist groups, including some affiliated with al Qaeda and Islamic State, have repeatedly attacked military and civilian targets along the porous border between Mali and Niger.

Islamic State’s affiliate in West Africa claimed responsibility for an attack last October near the border that killed four U.S. special forces and at least four Nigerien soldiers.

Western powers, including France and the United States, have thousands of troops in the semi-arid Sahel region to combat what they see as a growing Islamist militant threat and also support a task force of five regional armies.

Reporting by Moussa Aksar; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis

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