Al-Qaida demands hostage exchange; threatens to kill if demands not met

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ménaka, Mali
Image: Dr. Blofeld.

The African branch of al-Qaida has demanded the release of four of its members held in Mali in exchange for the French hostage Pierre Camatte, 61 years, kidnapped in November. If their demands are not met they have threatened to kill him.

"Let France and Mali be forewarned that we give 20 days to fulfill our just demand or the two governments shall be fully responsible for the life of the French hostage," stated the group, which started out as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat before joining al-Qaida in 2004, on a website on Sunday.

Gunmen seized Camatte from his hotel in Ménaka on November 25. Four days later in neighbouring Mauritania the group kidnapped three Spanish aid workers. No one has seen them since.

According to CNN, the group executed British hostage Edwin Dyer in June, after failing to obtain the release of the person believed to be Osama bin Laden's European deputy, Abu Qatada. The group also claims to have killed an American teacher in Mauritania in June for spreading the Christian message.