Niger kidnappers 'were looking for Italian'

2012-10-16 14:03

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Niamey - Gunmen who kidnapped five African aid workers and a driver in Niger at the weekend had planned to abduct an Italian national, a local official told AFP on Tuesday.

"All the witness accounts concur: the kidnappers - there were 11 of them - headed straight to the house where the Italian should have spent the night on Sunday. As soon as they entered, they asked the watchman in Arabic where the white man was," he said.

The official said the watchman told the gunmen that the Italian man was not there and had planned to camp out in the bush with Bororo Fulani tribesmen.

He described the Italian man targeted by the kidnappers as an anthropologist who had previously worked for Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres - MSF).

"Wearing djellabah [robes], bullet-proof jackets and turbans... they started frantically searching the house," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"Since they weren't finding anything, they rushed to the house next door and found the aid workers and marched them out at gunpoint," he added.

He said the neighbourhood's watchmen and several residents had all provided the same account of the incident late on Sunday.

The official added that the Italian man was transferred to a safe location in nearby Maradi, the west African country's economic capital.

The six abducted on Sunday were five aid workers - four from Niger and one from Chad - as well as a Nigerien driver.

Deadly attacks

Four of the six hostages, including a doctor and a nurse, are employed by the local aid group Befen, which fights against malnutrition, and the Chadian health group Alerte-sante.

In September 2010, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim), the north African branch of al-Qaeda, kidnapped seven people in Niger's desert region of Agadez, and four French hostages are still held.

The area in southern Niger where the six were snatched is near the border with Nigeria, where the Boko Haram Islamist group has been carrying out deadly attacks, and not far from Islamist-controlled northern Mali.

The Niger government however appeared to dismiss the idea of jihadist involvement in the kidnapping and vowed Monday to spare no effort in securing the hostages' release.

The UN Security Council on Friday urged west African countries to speed up preparations for a military intervention in northern Mali, which was seized by groups with links to Aqim in March.

Niger is expected to contribute troops to the regional force.

The crisis in Mali, which is effectively split in two, stems in part from the war in Libya last year which saw former Tuareg rebels who had served as Muammar Gaddafi’s mercenaries return to their home countries flush with weapons.

They were mainly from Mali and Niger.

Read more on:    aqim  |  al-qaeda  |  muammar gaddafi  |  niger  |  west africa  |  abductions
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

SA political parties go to church

Leaders of different political parties have attended a church service at the Tyrannus Apostolic Church in De Deur.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.