Sunday, January 9, 2011

France says hostages in Niger executed

TWO French hostages killed after being kidnapped in Niger were apparently executed by their captors, the French military said on Sunday.

'Everything seems to indicate that the two French hostages... were executed,' said Thierry Burkhard, a spokesman for the armed forces in the defence ministry.

The two Frenchmen, both 25, were seized at gunpoint by suspected Al-Qaeda-linked militants from a restaurant in Niamey on Friday and died during a France-Niger rescue bid in the desert on Saturday, officials said.
One of them was a former aid worker who had been due to marry a local woman next week. The other was his childhood friend, who had just arrived in Niamey to attend the ceremony when the two were snatched late on Friday.
Mr Burkhard said that a French surveillance aircraft backed up Niger armed forces as they chased the kidnappers and located them in the desert, enabling troops on the ground to attack.

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