Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

ENCORE!

Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday : The Best of the Bard

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

The Tour de France, a PR machine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

Europe

Al Qaeda group says Paris negotiated to free French hostage

Video by Nicolas Germain

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-02

An al Qaeda linked group in the Sahara said Sunday that France had launched its raid in Mauritania while in negotiations with the group to free French hostage Michel Germaneau. This message contradicts earlier French government statements.

AFP - The head of an Al-Qaeda-linked gang in the Sahara desert said he held negotiations with Paris about freeing a kidnapped Frenchman before the hostage was killed, in an Internet message on Sunday.

"Shame on France and its president (Nicolas Sarkozy), who launched their raids while negotiations were under way," Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) chief Abdelmalek Droukdal said, according to the message posted on jihadist websites.

The French authorities never reported that they were in negotiations for the release of the hostage, Michel Germaneau, a 78-year-old aid worker who was abducted in northern Niger on April 19.

The Al-Qaeda offshoot said that it had executed Germaneau on July 24 in revenge for the killing of six comrades in a failed Mauritanian-French rescue raid in Mali.

French Defence Minister Herve Morin said later that Paris had no direct negotiations with Germaneau's captors, while Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the gang may have killed the hostage nearly two weeks before the raid.

"We never had any specific claims" from them, Morin said at the time on France Inter radio. "They even refused any discussion aimed at getting him the medicines he needed for his heart problems."

In Mali, a local elected official told AFP that Germaneau had been beheaded after the raid, in the presence of Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, the leader of an AQIM cell that has been blamed for killing a Briton, Edwin Dyer, in 2009.

Fillon said Germaneau's body had not been recovered and pointed out that Dyer's had never been found either.

Sarkozy vowed on Monday to avenge the murder.

"Dear compatriots, this crime committed against Michel Germaneau will not go unpunished," Sarkozy said, warning French nationals to avoid the arid Sahel region running through Mauritania, Mali, Niger and southern Algeria.

Sarkozy did not reveal what France planned to do in response to the killing, but experts and military officers told AFP to expect an increased use of spies and special forces to target militant groups in the Sahel.

France is the former colonial ruler of most of the Sahel, and retains influence with regional leaders.

Paris already has military cooperation agreements with its former West African colonies, and helps to train and coordinate local anti-terror forces, in an area which receives around 30,000 French tourists per year.
 

Date created : 2010-08-01

  • DIPLOMACY

    French PM declares 'war' on al Qaeda after hostage killed

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    Kouchner vows to fight Islamists after killing of French hostage

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Sarkozy condemns French hostage 'assassination'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)