A German aid worker was on Wednesday evening kidnapped in Western Niger near the Mali border. According to Niger’s attorney general Cheibou Samna, the kidnapping was carried out by men riding motorcycles about 25 kilometres south of the town of Inates.
According to sources from the AFP news agency, a worker for the non-governmental organization who has since been identified as Joerg Lange was behind the trail.
“There was a kidnapping of a German national around 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Ayorou as he returned from a visit to the north of the area,” Jando Rhichi Algaher told AFP.
While Niger’s attorney general did not delve into further details, Germany’s foreign minister 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.