News / Africa

Nigerian Islamist Sect Claims Kidnap of French Engineer

An image grabbed on Dec. 24, 2012 from a video released by the radical Islamist group known as Ansaru, which has claimed responsibility for the recent kidnapping of a French man.
An image grabbed on Dec. 24, 2012 from a video released by the radical Islamist group known as Ansaru, which has claimed responsibility for the recent kidnapping of a French man.
Anne Look
In a statement e-mailed to journalists Sunday, a relatively new Islamist sect claims responsibility for the kidnapping of a French engineer earlier this month in northern Nigeria.

Known by its nickname, Ansaru, the group says the Dec. 19 kidnapping of Francis Colump, 63, was in retaliation for France's ban on full-face veils, as well as its recent support for military action in Mali.

The engineer was grabbed on Dec. 19, after thirty gunmen stormed his home in northern Katsina state, killing two Nigerians in the process.

Ansaru's full name in Arabic means "Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa."

The group is believed to have ties to the militant Islamist group, Boko Haram. Ansaru is also believed to have links to al-Qaida, in particular to its North Africa branch, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Al-Qaida-linked groups in the Sahel are holding seven other French hostages. The seventh was grabbed in Mali in November.

French President Francois Hollande says France must remain "firm" against terrorism while also "maintaining contacts" to free hostages.

Speaking to reporters on Dec. 21, Hollande said the heavily-armed group that kidnapped Colump is "undoubtedly linked to AQIM or the groups which are today in Mali."

Ansaru burst onto the scene with a written statement distributed in Kano in January, followed by a video posted online in June.

The sect sought to to set itself apart from Boko Haram, saying it disapproved of Boko Haram's methods and its killing of Muslims.

Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram's bloody insurgency against the Nigerian state has killed nearly 3,000 people since 2009.

Ansaru's leader has reportedly said Boko Haram is too focused on attacking Nigerians, and not Westerners, who are the real enemies of Islam.

Ansaru said in its statement Sunday that it kidnapped Colump because of "the stance of the French government and the French people on Islam."

The group pledged more attacks on French citizens until the country changes its policies on the veil and impending military action in Mali.

France has been pushing hard for an internationally backed, regional military intervention in northern Mali, which has been under the control of al-Qaida-linked Islamist groups since April.

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday approved a phased military deployment to Mali to tackle the political crisis in the capital and ultimately help the Malian army retake the north.

According to Dakar-based Sahel security analyst, Andrew Lebovich, northern Mali has become a troubling jihadist rallying point.

"Possibly a place of training and meeting but northern Mali rhetorically has become much more important for jihadis really since April, and even a bit before, important as a cause and also as a symbol," Lebovich says, "and, as it was referred to in the statement by Ansaru, the Islamic state of northern Mali, this idea that an Islamic state is being put in place."

The British government banned Ansaru as a terrorist group in November, saying it believed the sect was behind the kidnapping of a British and an Italian citizen in May 2011. The two men were killed in March during a failed rescue attempt.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More