French hostage in Mali killed, say militants

Website of al-Qaida branch Aqim says Philippe Verdon, a geologist captured in November 2011, has been put to death
French hostage Philippe Verdon has been killed, according to his Mali captors
French hostage Philippe Verdon has been killed, according to his Mali captors. Photograph: AP
Islamist kidnappers have killed a French hostage in Mali, according to a report on the website of al-Qaida's north African branch.
The Noukachott Information Agency, or ANI, said Philippe Verdon had been killed. The ANI website is frequently used by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) to post messages. It was not possible to independently verify the claim and the French foreign ministry had no immediate comment.
ANI quoted a man who identified himself as Ghairawani , a spokesman for Aqim, as saying Verdon was killed on 10 March "in response to the French military intervention in the north of Mali". Verdon and another Frenchman had been kidnapped from their hotel room in eastern Mali in November 2011.
French troops launched a campaign in January to help the country's government drive Islamic militants out of northern Mali. A further 14 French hostages are being held in west Africa, including seven by Aqim and its affiliates.


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