Somali al Shabaab militants sentenced French agent Denis Allex to death Wednesday, several days after an attempt by French armed forces to rescue him failed. French authorities state that Allex was killed during the botched operation.
Somali militants linked to al Qaeda said on Wednesday that they will execute the French intelligence officer they have held for more than three years, but who is already presumed dead by French authorities. The agent was the object of a botched rescue bid on Saturday.
“Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen has reached a unanimous decision to execute the French intelligence officer, Denis Allex [following] exhaustive attempts at negotiations” the militants said in an online statement that was also posted on the group’s official Twitter handle.
France said on Saturday it believed Allex, held hostage by al Shabaab since 2009, had most likely been killed by his captors during the failed rescue attempt.
“We have nothing since Friday’s raid on Denis Allex being alive. We think he is likely dead,” the French army's Chief of Staff Edouard Guillard told Europe 1 Radio (see video above).
It was not immediately clear whether the rebels were saying they had already killed Allex.
“It is the government of France... which must bear full responsibility for the death of Allex,” al Shabaab said. “With the rescue attempt, France has voluntarily signed Allex’s death warrant.”
Guillard said the militants were engaging in “media manipulation”.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-01-16