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French Journalists Kidnapped in Mali

Armed gunmen have kidnapped and apparently killed two French journalists in Mali.

The incident took place on Saturday in the northern city of Kidal, where the journalists had just finished interviewing an official with the MNLA separatist group.

An MNLA spokesman has told VOA that he had learned that the journalists were killed by their captors a short distance from the city. MNLA Revolutionary Council chairman Attayoub Ag Dataye said French troops in Mali had recovered their bodies.

Separately, a VOA reporter in Kidal said the journalists had been killed.

The journalists worked for the French RFI news organization.

The incident had taken place just days after four French men were freed after being held hostage for more than three years by al-Qaida-linked militants in neighboring Niger.

The French nationals were captured by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in September 2010 while they were working for the French nuclear firm Areva.



Earlier this year, France led an offensive in Mali to drive al-Qaida-linked militants from the country's north. Subsequently, some of the militants moved to more remote regions of the country.

Last month, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita cut short a trip to France after fighting erupted between Malian soldiers and MNLA rebels in Kidal.

Mr. Keita's government has been trying to restore order after 21 months of turmoil that included an ethnic Tuareg uprising, a coup, and the Islamist militant takeover of northern Mali.

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