News / Africa

France Suspects Al-Qaida Behind Niger Kidnappings

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (file photo)
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (file photo)

France's foreign minister says his country suspects that al-Qaida's North African wing is responsible for the kidnapping of seven foreigners in Niger. But Bernard Kouchner added France has not received any claim of responsibility from the group.

Speaking on French radio Friday, Kouchner said France suspects al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb or a group linked to it is responsible for the kidnapping.

The group was kidnapped overnight on Wednesday. Five are French nationals, another two are from Togo and Madagascar.

Kouchner said it would not be the first time France has dealt with the group. France declared war on the North African militants in July after they executed a 78-year-old French aid worker.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which is known by the acronym AQIM, has kidnapped nationals from a number of European countries.

At the end of August, AQIM released two Spanish aid workers who had been held captive for almost nine months.

Africa analyst Peter Pham is from the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. He says AQIM poses an increasing threat.

"I think it's a growing concern, one that governments in the region and beyond need to keep focus on," he said.

The group was originally based in Algeria. In 2006 it aligned itself with al-Qaida and since then, says Pham, the group's abilities have grown.

He says ransoms are often paid by governments for their nationals to be released. That, combined with money he says AQIM makes from the drug trade, has given the group increased strength. He says AQIM is now hiring operators to carry out its work.

"Instead of selecting operatives purely on ideological reasons of affinity to the group's goals, what AQIM has done is it has gone out and hired the best operators to carry out an operation," he said.

Officials say those abducted this week were workers from the nuclear company Areva and a subsidiary of the construction company Vinci.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid