Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Netanyahu says Gaza operation will not end quickly

Read more

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

#TECH 24

Internet of Things

Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al-Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • Israel warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    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)