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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Niger: Two AQIM Prisoners in Custody after Two French Civilians killed

Niger holding 2 suspects in French killings: sources
Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:42pm GMT

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Niger security forces are holding two men prisoner they believe were among a group of al Qaeda militants that kidnapped and killed two French nationals at the weekend, according to security sources.

The two Frenchmen were found dead after French special forces joined a failed attempt to rescue them in the West African state on Saturday.

"Two AQIM elements captured during clashes are being interrogated by the national guard," according to a Nigerien security source with knowledge of the case.

A second source said French police were assisting in the interrogation of the two prisoners.
The two victims were abducted from a bar in Niger's capital Niamey, bringing to eight the number of French people snatched in Niger since last April.

They were the first to be seized in Niamey, far from the lawless desert where militants, rebels and bandits operate.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Monday he was almost certain that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was behind the incident.

Niger's government said four other militants were killed in the clashes, along with three Nigerien soldiers.

AQIM is holding another five French citizens, employees of French firms Areva and Vinci, taken from the northern mining town of Arlit in September.

AQIM also killed French tourist Michel Germaneau in July after kidnapping him in Niger three months earlier.

The Rest @ Reuters

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