Qaeda group claims kidnap of 5 in Mali

2011-12-08 22:42

Rabat - Al-Qaeda's north African wing said on Thursday it was behind the kidnapping of two "French spies" and three other Europeans in Mali last month, in statement whose authenticity could not be verified.

In the statement sent to AFP in Rabat, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) said it was responsible for the November 24 kidnapping of the two French nationals and three Europeans a day later in Timbuktu.

"We will soon make our demands known to France and Mali," it said.

French nationals Philippe Verdon and Serge Lazarevic, who the al-Qaeda statement claimed "work for the French intelligence services" were seized at gunpoint from their hotel in the town of Hombori near the border with Niger.

A day later, an armed gang snatched a Swede, a Dutchman and a man with dual British-South African nationality from a restaurant on Timbuktu's central square and killed a German with them who tried to resist.