An Italian woman kidnapped in Algeria in early February has said in an audiotape that she is being held by the North African branch of al-Qaida.

Her message was aired by Dubai-based Al Arabiya television early Friday.

The woman, who identified herself as Maria Sandra Mariani, said in French that she was kidnapped February 2 and is being held by members of al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb. She said she wanted Al Arabiya to air her statement.

Reports say the woman was kidnapped near the town of Djanet in southeastern Algeria.