10 humanitarian aid workers, distributing food aid, were kidnapped on Wednesday in Niger’s southwestern Tillaberi region near the border with Burkina Faso.
The aid workers work for the Action and Impact Programme in the Sahel, a non-governmental organization which is a partner of the United Nations World Food Programme.
An official with the Action and Impact Programme in the Sahel, Kadidiatou Harouna, told AFP that the armed assailants also seized two 4x4s belonging to the aid group.
According to Harouna, this is the first-such incident in which aid workers have been taken hostage in the region.
Harouna added that the NGO had operated in the area near the borders with Burkina Faso and Mali without problems over the past year.
At least 20 people were killed, shops looted and cattle stolen in May, when Gunmen attacked several villages in the region according to local authorities.
Since 2017 a state of emergency has been in place in Tillaberi, which borders Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin.