US suspends Peace Corps in Niger

2011-01-19 17:02

Washington - The Peace Corps has suspended its operations in Niger and evacuated its workers from the west African nation due to security concerns following the kidnapping and murder of two French citizens claimed by an al-Qaeda affiliate.

The Peace Corps said on Tuesday that all 98 of its Niger-based volunteers are safe and are now in another country. The move marks the first time the agency has halted its programmes in Niger since it started working there in 1962. It said it would review safety and security in the country before restarting its work there.

The suspension came after a purported spokesperson for al-Qaeda's North Africa branch, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, claimed responsibility last week for kidnapping the two Frenchmen who later died during a failed rescue attempt.