May 30, 2012 / 1:18 PM / 8 years ago

American kidnapped in West Africa's Benin

ABUJA (Reuters) - A U.S. citizen has been kidnapped in Benin, the U.S. embassy in Nigeria said on Wednesday, and sources said the American had been lured to the West African country by criminals met on the Internet.

A security source said the man had travelled to the country to meet a group of people from Benin and neighboring Nigeria.

He was abducted and then forced to contact his family to ask for a ransom payment, the source in Benin said.

There were no apparent links to Islamist groups or pirates which operate in the region, the source said.

“A U.S. citizen was recently kidnapped in Benin. The U.S. Embassy in Cotonou (Benin’s economic capital) has no reason to believe that other U.S. citizens or interests are at risk,” said a notice posted on the website of the embassy in Nigeria, which acts as a U.S. regional diplomatic hub.

“The investigation is ongoing, and there are no further details at this time,” it said.

The embassy did not give any further details and Benin authorities refused to comment. A diplomatic source said the American was seized last week after being lured to the country.

Kidnappings of foreigners are rare in Benin, a French-speaking country of about 9 million people, but there have been several abductions in Nigeria this year.

There have been a number of cases of foreigners being kidnapped in West Africa after making contacts on the Internet over the past two years.

Reporting by Joe Brock in Abuja and David Lewis in Dakar; Editing by Pravin Char

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