A State Department spokesman has confirmed that early on Tuesday an American citizen was kidnapped in the village of Massalata in Niger near the Nigerian border. U.S. government officials and local authorities have commenced a search.

The State Department reported that it is providing “all possible consular assistance,” to the individual’s family. 

Kidnappings are relatively common in Niger. The State Department‘s website lists the dangers associated with travel in the country:

“Terrorist groups continue plotting kidnappings and possible attacks in Niger. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting foreign and local government facilities and areas frequented by Westerners. Terrorists operate in the areas bordering Mali, Libya, Burkina Faso, and throughout northern Niger. Avoid travel to Niger’s border regions, particularly the Malian border area, Diffa region, and the Lake Chad region. Mali-based extremist groups have crossed the border and conducted multiple lethal attacks on Nigerien security forces.”