Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Qaeda threatens to kill hostages in Niger

20 September 2012, 09:04

Paris - The North African arm of al-Qaeda threatened to kill French hostages kidnapped in Niger if Paris tried to mount a military intervention in northern Mali, a regional news website reported on Wednesday.

Sahara Media quoted a statement from al-Qaeda's north African arm Aqim as saying France had "imprudently" worsened the crisis in Mali by seeking armed intervention in the north of the country.

Aqim, which operates across West and North Africa's vast Sahara desert, now controls with its Islamist allies the northern two-thirds of Mali, which borders Niger.

It holds four French citizens kidnapped two years ago from a mining town in Niger and two other French hostages.

It said French intervention in Mali would be "mad and provoke not only the death of the hostages, but that France would be dragged into the Azawad region [the northern part of Mali] which would bring France more tragedies and catastrophes".

African leaders and Western governments including the United States and France, the former colonial power in the region, have discussed the idea of a Western-backed African military intervention force to try to expel the rebels from the north and reunite divided Mali.

The four male hostages were among seven people working for French nuclear group Areva and Sogea-Satom, a subsidiary of construction group Vinci, who were kidnapped in September 2010 in the town of Arlit in Niger's northern uranium mining zone.

The wife of one of the hostages, a Togolese and a Malagasy man were freed the February following their kidnap.

First step

The kidnappers have demanded a $118m ransom for the return of the hostages, dismissed by the previous French government which said it would not negotiate with Aqim.

The statement said Aqim was ready to negotiate but that Paris had to make the "first step".

France's foreign ministry said it would not comment on the report because it had not yet been authenticated.

The Sahara Media website which earlier this month carried a video of the four hostages, is widely regarded as one of the more reliable news portals in the region with a strong network of contacts with Islamists.

Paris has promised to provide logistical support and share intelligence as part of a future intervention in Mali, but has ruled out directly sending troops to the country partly because AQIM is holding French hostages.

Regional and Western governments have compared the situation in Mali and the wider Sahel to Afghanistan, as a mix of local and foreign Islamists have hijacked a rebellion initially launched in January by secular Tuareg separatist rebels.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...