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French Say Two Journalists Killed In North Mali

5:03 PM, Nov 2, 2013   |    comments
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PARIS -- The French Foreign Ministry says two French journalists working for the radio station RFI have been killed in northern Mali, hours after being kidnapped by gunmen.

The foreign ministry said the bodies of Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont were found on Saturday.

The journalists were kidnapped Saturday in Mali's northern city of Kidal, the station and a Mali military head said.

RFI confirmed the kidnappings on its website, saying that Dupont and Verlon were taken at 1 p.m. by armed men and had not been heard from since.

Col. Mamari Camara said he had received a phone call in the afternoon from his men in the field confirming the two reporters had been taken Saturday.

Claude and Verlon were grabbed by several armed men in a 4x4 after they finished an interview with a Tuareg rebel leader, a Kidal city official said on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press.

Northern Mali last year was seized by a faction of al-Qaida, which has used kidnappings of foreigners, especially French citizens, to bankroll its operations.

This week, four Frenchmen kidnapped three years ago in Niger and held in Mali were released.

The global intelligence company Stratfor estimates that al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb has carried out at least 18 kidnappings since 2003, raising an estimated $89 million in ransom payments.

Associated Press

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