Al-Qaeda blames France for hostage deadlock



REUTERS

Published — Thursday 27 December 2012

Last update 27 December 2012 12:56 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

PARIS: A leader of Al-Qaeda's North African arm, AQIM, has accused France of failing to engage in negotiations to release French hostages the group is holding in the Sahel.
In a four-minute video message carried by regional news website Sahara Media, Abdel Hamid Abu Zeid said four hostages seized in Niger two years ago were alive and said Paris had not taken up AQIM's invitation to negotiate their release.
"About a year ago we alerted France to our willingness to negotiate and since then we have been waiting for a response," Abu Zeid said in a French transcript provided by Sahara Media, viewed as a reliable news portal with strong militant contacts.
The statement appeared to be in response to a Dec. 8 message from the brother of one of the hostages who said he did not understand why the situation appeared to be deadlocked.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said that Paris is working "discreetly" to try to secure the hostages' release.
AQIM, which operates across the vast Sahara desert and with its allies controls the northern two-thirds of Mali, is holding four Frenchmen seized in a Niger mining town in 2010 and two others kidnapped in northeast Mali in late 2011.
A seventh Frenchman was kidnapped by a separate rebel group, MUJWA, in southwest Mali in November.
AQIM threatened in September to start killing hostages if Paris mounted a military intervention in northern Mali.
Despite that risk, Paris has been a vocal supporter of plans for an international operation to try to wrest back the territory from the rebels' control. Western leaders are concerned the area could become a platform for militant attacks.
The UN Security Council this month authorized a French-drafted resolution for the deployment of an African-led force to retrain Mali's defeated army and ultimately support such an operation.
The four AQIM hostages were working for French nuclear group Areva and Sogea-Satom, a subsidiary of construction group Vinci, in the uranium mining town of Arlit in Niger.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: A Mercedes car with a Saudi number plate was spotted in Israel. The discovery led to intense discussion on social media websites on Tuesday.According to reports, the car was spotted last week in Jaffa’s Clock Tower Square by Jacky Hugi, the M...
RIYADH: The Kingdom is experiencing extremely hot weather conditions.According to a report from the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), Central Province, Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah, experienced “extremely hot weather with surface winds a...
ALKHOBAR: Many Saudi citizens travel outside the Kingdom during vacations looking for entertainment for themselves and their families as entertainment facilities in the Kingdom do not meet their aspirations. They have called for setting up entertainm...
TAIF: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal inaugurated state-of-the-art Radf public park in Taif which has an interactive fountain — the biggest of its kind in the Kingdom and spread over 13,000 sq meters. The fountain has colored lighting and a displ...
JEDDAH: The Special Criminal Court has issued a preliminary order in a case related to a Saudi national who fought with militant organizations in Syria. The court, functioning at its summer headquarters in Jeddah, sentenced him to a seven-year jail t...
RI YADH: The Kingdom has decided to increase the financial aid to Palestine by raising its monthly aid to the Palestinian Authority’s budget from $14 million to $20 million. The substantial increase brings Saudi Arabia’s yearly aid for Palestine to $...
JEDDAH: The Saudi Ambassador to Jordan has rejected terror charges against Saudis incarcerated in Iraqi jails and slammed the government of that country for concealing information on the inmates."The file of Saudi prisoners in Iraq has grabbed the at...
JEDDAH: Six female members of the Shoura Council participated in a training program to raise awareness among citizens on the municipal elections in which women will participate. The program was organized by Al-Nahda Philanthropic Society for Women un...
RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has issued an order appointing and promoting 96 members at the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIPP) at various ranks.Sheikh Mohammed bin Fahd Al Abdullah, BIPP president, expresse...
DAMMAM: After the recent increase in verbal and physical harassment of women and girls in the Kingdom, they have turned to martial arts in order to protect themselves. Amani Yassin, a coach at Taekwondo Training Institute, said: “Saudi women are inte...
RIYADH: A youth has been arrested for allegedly killing a Saudi man near the Madinah airport recently. The police apprehended the alleged killer without incident. The suspect, a 24-year-old Saudi, is alleged to have stabbed the victim several times...
RIYADH: A total of 4,326 male and female students started their local and regional summer program for 2015 under the sponsorship of the King Abdul Aziz and his Companions Foundation for the Gifted and Creativity (Mawhiba) throughout the Kingdom on Su...
BURAIDAH: The security patrolling team in Qassim detained a woman for driving a car on the streets of Buraidah.Her case was referred to the higher-ups for necessary action.According to Maj. Badar Al-Sahibani, spokesman Qassim police, the woman is ide...
RIYADH: Recent statistics announced by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, which coincided with consensus surveys in the Kingdom for the year 2014, revealed that there is only one doctor for each 800 people, and one nurse for every 285 peopl...
Indian expats have paid glowing tributes to one of its most beloved presidents and iconic leaders on Tuesday, as condolences poured in from various parts of the Kingdom for A.P.J. Abdul Kalam following his sudden death on Monday.Hemant Kotalwar, char...

Stay Connected

Facebook