An African news agency says al-Qaida's North African branch has executed a French hostage in retaliation for France's military intervention in Mali.
Mauritania's ANI news agency Tuesday said the execution of hostage Philippe Verdon was relayed in a telephone call to the news agency, which has close links to Islamist militants in the region. The agency quoted a spokesman for al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, as saying the execution took place March 10.
The killing has not been confirmed, and the French Foreign Ministry declined comment late Tuesday.
Verdon was one of two French hostages kidnapped in November 2011 in the northern Mali town of Hombori. He was reported to be on a business trip.
Earlier Tuesday, French radio broadcast an interview with Verdon's father, in which he complained about the lack of information on the status of his hostage son. Jean-Pierre Verdon said neither French officials nor militants had supplied information on his son, and he called the lack of news "insufferable."