News / Africa

France Suspects Al-Qaida Behind Niger Kidnappings

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (file photo)
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid