NIAMEY, Niger, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- A militant group of nomadic Niger tribesmen says it has kidnapped a Canadian diplomat serving as a U.N. envoy to the African nation.
A splinter group of Tuareg tribesmen fighting against the Niamey government said on their Web site they have captured Robert Fowler in a "commando operation" intended as a warning to "diplomats who collaborate with an ethnocidal regime," The New York Times reported.
U.N. officials said Fowler was first reported missing Monday when his vehicle was found abandoned on the outskirts of Niamey. They told the Times Fowler was with his aide, Louis Guay, and their driver at the time, adding that the car's engine was still running and there were no signs of a struggle.
Experts say the tribesmen have been waging an insurgency campaign in northern Niger since February 2007. They claim the country's mineral resource wealth is not being shared equally, specifically wealth from the uranium mines in northern Niger that produce 70 percent of the country's export earnings, the Times said.