French armed forces on Thursday freed five local aid workers kidnapped in Mali in February by an al-Qaeda linked Islamist group, the presidents of France and Mali announced in a joint statement.
The statement said the aid workers, who are all Malian nationals and four of whom work for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), were liberated in a dawn operation north of Timbuktu.
“They are all in good health,” the statement said.
The aid workers were abducted on February 8 and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed responsibility.
MUJAO is allied to the regional al Qaeda offshoot – Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM –which seized control of northern Mali in 2012. It was driven back by a French-led military operation launched in January last year.
The statement said the operation to free the aid workers was launched early on Thursday morning.
Date created : 2014-04-17