AQIM ‘kills French hostage in Mali’

AFP-JIJI

A French hostage has been executed in Mali, a man claiming to be a spokesman for al-Qaida in North Africa told Mauritania’s ANI news agency late Tuesday.

A French foreign office spokesman said Paris was trying to verify the report of the killing of Philippe Verdon, who was kidnapped in November 2011, adding that “we don’t know at the moment” whether it is reliable.

The private Mauritanian news agency reported that someone calling himself al-Qairawani and claiming to be a spokesman for al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) told them that the “spy” Verdon had been executed “on March 10 in response to France’s intervention in northern Mali.”

“French President (Francois) Hollande is responsible for the lives of the other French hostages,” he warned.

In all, 15 French nationals — including Verdon — are being held captive in Africa, with AQIM claiming responsibility for six of the kidnappings.