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Five french hostages alive

FIVE French hostages and two other foreigners kidnapped in Niger by an al-Qaida gang are alive and being held in the mountains of northern Mali, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said yesterday.

Gunmen seized the five French nationals – including a married couple – along with a Togolese and a Madagascan in a raid on September 16 on a uranium mining town in the deserts of northern Niger.

“We are ready to talk to the kidnappers,” a presidential aide said yesterday, referring to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the local wing of Osama bin Laden’s global jihadist network.


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