Tuareg rebels on Monday released some 30 civil servants whom they kidnapped in northern Mali during a deadly siege on local government offices over the weekend, the United Nations said.
"We have just taken back around 30 hostages. They are in not bad condition. Two are very tired," an official from MINUSMA, the UN’s peacekeeping force in Mali, said.
There were no immediate details on any negotiations behind the release, or confirmation that every hostage kidnapped in the northern rebel stronghold of Kidal on Saturday had been freed.
"They are between 28 and 30 hostages. They are in the hands of the MINUSMA," a humanitarian source who participated in the handover said.
A resident of Kidal, Mohamed Ag Ibrahim, confirmed that the hostages walked from the rebel-controlled governor’s office to the safety of a nearby army base.
The weekend rebel attack left eight civilians dead and marked a serious escalation in violence in Kidal.
But while the rebels released the hostages, they continue to occupy the governor’s office.
The Mali government in a statement said it amounted to “a declaration of war”.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)
Date created : 2014-05-19