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Images published of Frenchman kidnapped in Mali
Images of the French citizen kidnapped in Mali last week by an armed Islamist group were published on Monday by a Mauritanian news website. Alberto Rodriguez Leal is one of seven French hostages currently being held in Mali.
A Mauritanian news website on Monday published images of a French citizen kidnapped last week by one of the armed Islamist groups controlling the north of neighbouring Mali.
Two photos published on the site Alakhbar showed the man, identified as Alberto Rodriguez Leal, 61, with his head bowed, wearing a blue shirt and flanked by two armed men.
“My name is Rodriguez Leal Alberto. I was kidnapped in Diema, between Nioro and Bamako by MUJAO” the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, read the transcription of comments made by the hostage in an accompanying video.
According to Alakhbar the images were taken on Sunday.
“I ask the French government to respond rapidly to their demands,” Leal added. MUJAO has not yet publicised its requests in exchange for the hostage’s release.
“I am not at fault in this kidnapping, it is the government which is implicated by its outside actions.”
Leal said he trusted the French government would rapidly deal with his situation and “find a favourable outcome.”
“For my family, don’t worry. I am being well treated,” he added.
Leal, who was kidnapped on November 20 while driving in a camper van in south-western Mali from Mauritania, was initially identified by Malian security sources as Gilberto.
He was born in Portugal, but is a French citizen.
The kidnapping brings to 13 the number of hostages held by hardline Islamists in the region which has suffered a devastating collapse since a coup in Bamako in March. Seven of these are French.