Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

US ambassador to UN tells France 24 Russia 'has walked away from diplomacy' on Syria

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Paris pollution: 'What are we waiting for?'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Colombia's President Santos: Nobel Peace Prize 'a gift from God'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Donald Trump named Time magazine's Person of the Year

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Aleppo: The story of 7-year-old Bana Alabed

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Trump, Italy, slow growth: The ECB's challenges

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Graduation', 'Go Home' & Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas turns 100

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

After latest Snowden leaks, is it time to use carrier pigeons?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Taiwan on the line: Trump phone call alarms China (part 1)

Read more

Africa

UN envoy Fowler and three other hostages freed

Latest update : 2009-04-22

Two Canadian diplomats, including the UN envoy to Niger, Robert Fowler (photo), have been released along with two of the four European tourists held by al Qaeda's north African wing. Fowler and his aide had been missing since last December.

Reuters - Two Canadian diplomats and two European tourists held hostage by al Qaeda's north African wing in the Sahara desert have been released, a spokesman for Mali's president said on Wednesday.
 
"We confirm the release of four hostages," Seydou Cissouma, a spokesman for Mali's president, told Reuters. He said they were two Canadian diplomats and two female tourists.
 
Canadian Robert Fowler, a United Nations envoy to Niger, disappeared with his aide last December while four tourists --two Swiss, a German and a Briton -- were kidnapped on the Mali-Niger border in January.
 
Earlier this month, a Malian security source said a team of mediators was negotiating the release of the European tourists.
 
Sources at the United Nations confirmed Fowler and his assistant Louis Guay were free but they said they were awaiting further details.
 
The Canadian government has not yet confirmed the release. "We are aware of these media reports and have no comment at this time," said a Canadian foreign affairs spokeswoman.
 
Al Qaeda's north African wing had said it was holding the four tourists, who were taken from Mali into neighbouring Saharan state Niger, as well as the two Canadians.
 
The group had demanded 20 of its members be freed from detention in Mali and other countries as a condition for releasing the hostages.
 
Malian officials initially blamed Tuareg rebels active in the Sahara for the January abduction. Military sources in the West African country say al Qaeda hires the nomadic rebels and other armed groups to carry out kidnappings.
 
The January capture was the worst such incident in Mali since Islamist rebels abducted 32 European tourists in 2003.

Date created : 2009-04-22

COMMENT(S)