North African branch of Al-Qaeda release hostage video
Al-Qaeda’s North African branch has released a video on Monday that shows seven western hostages who are alive and who were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The video was obtained by a Mauritanian news agency, ANI, that said the footage showed the seven captives kidnapped by AQIM making statements pleading for their release.
ANI reported that all the hostages seemed in good health and included four French men, who were kidnapped from a uranium compound in northern Niger, a Dutchman, a Swede and a South African, who were abducted from Timbuktu in northern Mali in November 2011.
Commenting on the footage, Philippe Lalliot, a French foreign ministry spokesman said: “Based on the initial analysis, the video seems credible and has provided new proof of life of the four French hostages kidnapped in Arlit, northern Niger, on 16th September 2010.”
In July, the French president Francois Hollande had said: “France was doing everything to bring the hostages back but would not comment further for fear of complicating a situation which is bad enough.”
AQIM is currently thought to be holding eight Europeans hostage, including five French nationals.
The footage released yesterday show a Frenchman, Daniel Larribe, introducing himself as the head of the French group and mentioning that he was kidnapped by AQIM. He urges Hollande’s administration and his family members to work for his release.
Daniel’s wife, Francoise Larribe, was also captured but was released in 2011.
ANI said it was not clear when the video was made but the recordings by the French hostages were made in June.
It is the first video to be released that shows the captive men alive since France sent its troops to Mali in January after Al-Qaeda-linked militants threatened an assault on the capital Bamako.