France verifying bin Laden talk about hostages

20:26, November 19, 2010      

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France is checking the authenticity of the footage by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) suggesting negotiation with bin Laden over French hostages in Mali, local media reports said.

In a videotape aired by Qatar television Al-Jazeera Thursday, the head of AQIM Abdelmalek Droukdel suggested the only way to save French hostages was direct negotiation by Paris with bin Laden.

When asked by local media, French foreign ministry said that the video excerpt "is being authenticated now," and the answer from the defense ministry was that the normal process of examining the issuer was underway.

Five French nationals along with two other employers working for a uranium mine in Niger was kidnapped in September. AQIM, the branch of bin Laden's al-Qaeda in Africa, claimed responsibility for the abduction.

The hostages were believed to have been taken to neighboring Mali.

Source: Xinhua


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