ABC News’ Kirit Radia Reports: A Peace Corps volunteer was found dead early this morning in the west African nation of Benin, the State Department said today. The victim’s name and age were not provided. A State Department official said she had been stationed about six hours north of the capital of Cotonou.
"The female volunteer was found outside her home and identified by colleagues and friends at the school where she worked as a teacher," acting State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters.
A senior State Department official later said it is believed she had been murdered but offered no details on the circumstances of her death.
"We are saddened by the news of the death of a peace corps volunteer in Benin," Peace Corps spokeswoman Laura Lartigue said, declining to provide further details of the incident because an investigation is ongoing.
"Local police authorities are conducting an investigation and coordinating with Peace Corps and the State Department," she said.
The US Embassy in the capital of Conotou has dispatched its top security officer and other personnel to the site in order to conduct an investigation.
"The government of Benin has expressed condolences to the U.S. government and pledged full cooperation and support in this matter. The State Department expresses our deepest condolences to the family of the volunteer and the Peace Corps," Wood said.
The victim’s family is currently being notified, Wood said.
Including the victim there are 100 Peace Corps volunteers serving in Benin, among 7,836 volunteers serving worldwide.