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African Militants Release Hostage Video

  • VOA News

FILE - French nationals Philippe Verdon and Serge Lazarevic are seen surrounded by masked men holding guns in an undisclosed location in Mali, in this undated handout picture.

FILE - French nationals Philippe Verdon and Serge Lazarevic are seen surrounded by masked men holding guns in an undisclosed location in Mali, in this undated handout picture.

The North African jihadist group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has released a video showing a French and a Dutch hostage pleading with their respective governments to negotiate their release.

The video, posted on a popular jihadi website by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb's media branch, is divided into two scenes showing each hostage in a different location.

The first shows Frenchman Serge Lazarevic, who has been held for three years, speaking in French. He says he is very ill and begs French President Francois Hollande to seek his release. There is no indication where or when the video was shot.

Dutch national Sjaak Rijke also pleaded for his release in the video. Both men were kidnapped in 2011 in Mali. Neither man made any mention of a specific threat to their lives nor of any demands by the AQIM.

French and Dutch officials said Monday they are aware of the video.

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