French Official Travels to Niger After Killing of French Nationals

Published on Monday 10th January 2011

The French defense minister travels to Niger Monday to met with officials there, following the death of two kidnapped French nationals.   Alain Juppe's visit comes two days after the French hostages were found dead near Niger's border with Mali.Officials say the men's bodies were discovered Saturday, after a rescue attempt by Niger's military and French special forces. Authorities say French anti-terror police have been dispatched to Niger to participate in the investigation of the death of the two friends. One of the French nationals worked in Africa and was marrying a Niger woman.  The other man had come to Niger to attend his friend's wedding. Witnesses say gunmen abducted the men Friday from a restaurant in Niger's capital, Niamey. No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but officials in France and Niger say they suspect al-Qaida's north African branch, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has condemned the killings and says France will never accept decrees from terrorists. On Sunday, France warned its citizens against travel to Africa's Sahel region, which includes Niger.  France is currently trying to secure the release of five French hostages seized in Niger in September, along with a Togolese and a Madagascan.



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