Officials blame Al Qaeda for killing of French hostages in Niger
French and African officials say Saturday's killing of two French hostage in Niger was likely carried out by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which has claimed responsibility for a number of kidnappings in recent years.
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Two French hostages were killed Saturday after a reported rescue attempt ended in a shoot out in Niger.
French and African officials say the hostage attack in the West African country was likely carried out by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which has claimed responsibility for a number of kidnappings in recent years.
“This is an escalation.... It is a sign that they are determined to attack states and Western interests to create a zone of insecurity,” said Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, a former Malian defense minister, in an article by Reuters. “Countries are struggling to coordinate their response. This should push countries to implement much more rigorous security measures.”
How the attack happened
Men wearing turbans and clothes common among Niger’s northern desert tribesmen, reportedly stormed a bar in the capital city of Niamey and abducted the two men.
The Nigerien and French military pursued them to the border of Mali, where a gun battle erupted. Officials say it appears that the captors executed the French captives during the rescue attempt.
“With the operation launched and coordinated with French elements in the region, the terrorists were intercepted at the Mali border and several of them were overpowered,” said Alain Juppé, France’s Minister of Defense reports Al Jazeera. “After the fighting, the two hostages were found dead.”