Al Qaeda claims abduction of French in Niger: Jazeera

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the abduction of French citizens in Niger, Al-Jazeera television reported on Wednesday.

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2010, 10:57 AM IST

Dubai: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
(AQIM) has claimed responsibility for the abduction of French
citizens in Niger, Al-Jazeera television reported on Wednesday.

"Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed
responsibility for the abduction of five French citizens in
Niger a few days ago," a report on the television`s website
said.

The French, including a married couple, are among seven
people kidnapped on Thursday. All seven work for French
companies involved in uranium mining in the Arlit region of
northern Niger.

The other two victims are from Togo and Madagascar.
Earlier today, the Niger government said the kidnappers
were "affiliated" to AQIM.

"We have not received any claims of responsibility but we
have analysed the information that has reached us. We have
also analysed the evidence that we have collected," government
spokesman Laouali Dan Dahhe said.

"Based on this evidence, we are in a position to say that
the group which undertook this unacceptable kidnapping is a
group affiliated to the group of (Abdelhamid) Abou Zeid who is
himself linked with ... al Qaeda," he said.

Zeid is AQIM`S leader in northern Mali.
French military planes were scouring the West African
desert today in an effort to locate the seven.

PTI