Local media outlets reported that the US citizen was a male missionary. CNN has not been able to confirm the citizen’s identity.
The governor of the local region where the abduction took place was quoted in various local media and by French media reporting from Niger as saying that six men on motorbikes armed with AK-47s came to the man’s property in the village of Massalata, close to the border with Nigeria.
The governor, Abdourahamane Moussa, told these media outlets that after demanding money, the men took the American citizen with them in the direction of the Nigerian border.
The State Department spokesman said that “when a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts, and we share information with families however we can.”
On Saturday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US citizen would be reunited with his family.
“Thanks to the extraordinary courage and capabilities of our military, the support of our intelligence professionals, and our diplomatic efforts, the hostage will be reunited with his family,” Pompeo said in a statement. “We will never abandon any American taken hostage.”
President Donald Trump on Saturday thanked the special operations forces for rescuing the American citizen and said more details about the mission would be shared in “a very short period of time.”
“I want to thank the Special Forces. We had a tremendous event happen and really these are incredible people that do this,” Trump told reporters as he departed for a day of campaign travel.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi, Nicole Gaouette, Tim Lister and Alison Main contributed to this report.
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