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Suspects questioned over murder of RFI journalists

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-11-04

French and Malian security forces have been combing former rebel camps in northern Mali to look for the murderers of Radio France Internationale journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, who were kidnapped and killed on Saturday.

Several suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of two French journalists in Mali on Saturday, Malian security sources told FRANCE 24.

“There were around ten arrests in the Kidal area,” FRANCE 24 and Radio France Internationale’s (RFI) correspondent Serge Daniel said from Bamako. “Security sources insisted that people being arrested did not necessarily make them guilty,” he added.

Daniel explained that although Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were abducted and murdered in the desert town of Kidal, “there are known water points and camps where information can be found”.

“We are beginning to piece together some significant information” a member of the 'gendarmerie' police force in Gao told AFP.

Members of the same force told French private radio Europe 1 earlier in the morning that five suspects had been detained since 10pm on Sunday night. The suspects were found in two camps where former rebels from the MNLA Tuareg separatist group are stationed, Europe 1 reported.

According to RFI, several suspects were arrested around 40km east of Kidal.

However, a source at the French defence ministry denied the reports. “I deny that people have been arrested in connection with the murder of the journalists,” the source told AFP on Monday morning.

The defence ministry, however, has “information that can lead to the murderers”, the source added.

In an interview with RTL, another private radio station, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed that “operations were launched yesterday [Sunday] to identify a number of people in the camps” and “people were questioned”.

However, he did not confirm reports of any arrests, adding that he wanted to stick to “things that have been verified”.

“At the moment, we don't have a clear idea of who is behind these murders,” Fabius told RTL, adding that no group had claimed responsibility for the attack. “There is talk of AQMI, MUJAO, which has shifted in a new direction, and of possible tensions between them,” he said in reference to several radical Islamist groups active in the region.

Date created : 2013-11-04

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