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January 16, 2013

Somali Militants Plan to Execute French Hostage

by VOA News

Somali militant group al-Shabab says it has decided to kill a French hostage, days after France carried out an unsuccessful rescue operation and presumed the man dead.

In a statement released via Twitter on Wednesday, the militants say they reached a unanimous decision to execute French intelligence officer Denis Allex.  

Allex has been held since being kidnapped from a Mogadishu hotel in July 2009.  Before then, he was part of a team helping to train Somali government troops to fight al-Shabab.

French forces tried to free Allex in a raid late Friday that according to France left two soldiers and 17 militants dead.  

Al-Shabab says French forces killed civilians during the operation.  The group says it is killing Allex to avenge those deaths and to protest what it calls France's anti-Muslim policies and French military operations in Afghanistan and Mali.

It was not clear from the statement whether Allex has already been killed.

He was last seen in a video posted online in October, appealing to French President Francois Hollande for help.

YouTube video message from Denis Allex to French president