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Sunday, January 17, 2021

American Missionary Kidnapped in Niger

Six armed men have reportedly kidnapped an American missionary on Oct. 27 in southern Niger, about 10 kilometers away from the border with Nigeria.

Six armed men have reportedly kidnapped an American missionary on Oct. 27 in southern Niger, about 10 kilometers away from the border with Nigeria.

Media reports have identified the American as Philip Walton.

Governor Abdourahamane Moussa of the Tahoua region told Radio France Internationale (RFI) that six men armed with AK-47s abducted Walton in his garden on the outskirts of the Massalata village in the early morning of Oct. 27.

Bruce Walton, Philip’s father, told local radio station Niyya that the gunmen asked for money, then abducted Philip when there wasn’t enough, as reported by news company Agence France-Presse (AFP).

According to Bruce and Village Chief Ibrahim Dagual, Philip only had 20,000 CFA, which amounts to US $36.

Prefect Ibrahim Abba Lee of the Birni-N’konni Department told AFP that the gunmen left on three motorcycles and headed to the Nigerian border. This account has been confirmed by Dagual.

No groups have yet to claim responsibility for the abduction.

“We are aware of a US citizen abducted in Niger. We are providing their family all possible consular assistance,” a spokesman from the State Department of the United States told CNN.

“The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to US citizens in need and to their families,” the spokesman further said.

Niger is in the Sahel region of West Africa where jihadists have killed thousands and several westerners are currently held hostage.

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