French Areva neglects kidnapping threat: press

12:53, September 22, 2010      

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French nuclear power group Areva admitted Tuesday that it has received a letter from Niger authorities warning potential kidnapping in Arlit region two weeks before Al-Qaeda's wing in north African took away its staff.

According to local media, a warning letter posted last week on Le Monde newspaper's website said the security situation in the Arlit region of north Niger, where seven staff of Areva and Satom were abducted, was degrading. The letter also told the French firm a previous foiled plot in the region targeting foreigners.

Areva's spokesman confirmed Tuesday receipt of the letter, which brought the company a load of criticism.

Both affected companies, Areva and Satom, have evacuated their employees from the risky region, and meanwhile enhanced security force for their uranium mines there.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which claimed responsibility for the abduction, said in a video broadcast by Al- Jazeera television channel that it will soon let French authority know their demand.

French foreign ministry spokesman said they were making efforts to confirm the extremist body behind the kidnapping.

France has sent a 80-team of specialized personnel, including military scout plane, to hunt for its captured nationals in the Sahara region.

President Nicolas Sarkozy held a defense meeting discussing Niger hostage issue at the Elysee Palace late Tuesday, but no official statement was issued to the moment.

Source: Xinhua


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