Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

  • Live: France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

France

Bin Laden says France to pay 'high price' for Afghan policy

Video by Elena CASAS

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-05-02

In a purported audio tape aired on Al Jazeera television on Friday, al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden warned French President Nicolas Sarkozy that his refusal to withdraw troops from Afghanistan was a "green light" to kill French hostages.

Who are al Qaeda’s French hostages?
Intelligence agent Denis Allex (probably not his real name), was captured on 14 July 2009 in Somalia, possibly Mogadishu, by al Qaeda-linked militant group al Shabaab.
Five French nationals, a Togolese and a Malagasy – most of them employees of energy group Areva – have been held hostage since 16 September 2010, when they were kidnapped at a uranium enrichment site in Arlit, north Niger. They’re being held somewhere in the Sahel, possibly in Mali, by the al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb movement (AQIM).

In a message specifically targeting France, al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden warned that Paris would pay a “high price” for its policies and that the fate of French hostages would depend on the pullout of French troops from “Muslim lands”, in a purported audiotape broadcast on Arabic news network Al Jazeera on Friday.

“We repeat the same message to you: The release of your prisoners in the hands of our brothers is linked to the withdrawal of your soldiers from our country," bin Laden said. "The refusal of your president [Nicolas Sarkozy] to withdraw from Afghanistan is the result of his obedience of America and this refusal is a green light to kill your prisoners,” he added.

French officials have not yet confirmed the authenticity of the tape. But in a statement released shortly after the broadcast the French foreign ministry said France was "determined" to keep troops in Afghanistan despite a threat from al Qaeda.

Bin Laden’s last authenticated message was broadcast on al Jazeera in October, when he threatened to kill French citizens and attack French interests in retaliation for the country’s policies regarding Muslims.

The previous message, bearing the imprint of as-Sahab, the media arm linked with al Qaeda’s top leadership, said the September 2010 kidnapping of seven foreign nationals including five French citizens in Niger was in retaliation for “the tyranny” France “practices against our Muslim nation.”

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the terror group’s North Africa branch, has claimed responsibility for that kidnapping. In a message released in November, the group’s chief, Abdelmalek Droukdel, said France would have to directly negotiate with bin Laden to seek the release of the hostages in Niger.

Meanwhile, two French journalists, Stephane Taponier and Herve Ghesquiere, remain in captivity since their abduction in December 2009 along with three Afghan colleagues in an area northeast of Kabul.

 

Date created : 2011-01-21

  • TERRORISM

    Key figures in al Qaeda's North African branch

    Read more

  • NIGER

    Al Qaeda affiliate claims kidnapping of seven foreigners in Niger

    Read more

  • NIGER

    Al Qaeda releases images of hostages kidnapped in Niger

    Read more

COMMENT(S)