Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Davos 2017: Global leaders try to understand populist surge

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

DAVOS 2017: What next for the global healthcare industry?

Read more

FOCUS

New initiative provides free services to homeless in Paris

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Moving US embassy to Jerusalem would be 'a terrible mistake'

Read more

ENCORE!

Hisham Matar's memoir 'The Return' seeks answers in post-Gaddafi Libya

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Acquired tastes: The 'disgusting' French delicacies many foreigners won't eat

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Brazil: Docu-drama spotlights harsh reality of prison life

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is Hollande eyeing 'European Council president' post after he steps down?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

11th hour: Scientists say primates facing 'imminent extinction'

Read more

France

France ‘paid $17 million’ ransom for Mali hostages

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-02-08

According to a former US ambassador to Mali, France paid 17 million dollars in 2010 to free four French hostages still being held by their Salafist kidnappers, probably in the county's northeastern Ifoghas mountain range.

Paris paid a ransom in 2010 of some 17 million dollars to free four French hostages - who are still being held by al Qaeda-linked militants, probably in northern Mali, according to a former US ambassador to Mali.

“Two years ago, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) kidnapped a number of French citizens at a uranium mine in Niger,” Vicki Huddleston, who was US ambassador to Mali from 2002 to 2005, told French news channel iTélé late on Thursday.

“To get them freed, France paid a 17-million-dollar ransom. Like all ransoms, it was paid indirectly, through the Malian government, which forwarded at least some of the funds to the Salafists [Islamists].”

The four hostages for whom she said the ransom was paid were taken from the Arlit uranium mine on September 16, 2010.

A further two were taken at Hombori in Mali in November 2011 and the seventh in November 2012 at Kayes, also in Mali.

All seven are believed to be held somewhere in the Ifoghas mountain range in the far north-east of Mali near the Algerian border, where most of the insurgents are believed to be located.

Late on Thursday, French and Chadian troops arrived at the desert town of Aguelhok [LINK], 160 km from the Algerian border, in striking range of the Ifoghas.

As French-led forces moved through northern Mali in a lightning strike to drive out a 10-month Islamist occupation of the north of the country, security was tightened at the uranium mining sites in neighbouring Niger, which are vital to the French economy.

Late in January, there were unconfirmed reports that French energy giant Areva was using French Army Special Forces to reinforce their existing security operation at its Niger sites.

France has always denied paying ransoms to hostage takers. There has been no official reaction to the story since it was published.

 

Date created : 2013-02-08

  • FRANCE - MALI

    Mali war costs debt-laden France 70 million euros

    Read more

  • FRANCE - MALI

    Mali war costs debt-laden France 70 million euros

    Read more

  • FRANCE - MALI

    France calls for Mali handover to UN troops

    Read more

COMMENT(S)