Two `Qaeda militants` captured after Niger kidnap: Security

At least two suspected al Qaeda-linked militants were captured after a failed Franco-Nigerien raid to free two French hostages who were later found dead, a Niger security source said on Tuesday.

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2011, 19:49 PM IST

Niamey: At least two suspected al Qaeda-linked militants were captured after a failed Franco-Nigerien raid to free two French hostages who were
later found dead, a Niger security source said on Tuesday.

The alleged members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
(AQIM) are being questioned in the Niger capital, the source
said, from where the two young Frenchmen were snatched on
Friday and later found killed in the desert.

"At least two alleged AQIM fighters were captured and
brought back safe and sound to Niamey where they are being
interrogated," the source said, without elaborating on the
circumstances of their arrest.

Three Nigerien security forces were killed and four
seriously wounded in clashes with the militants who snatched
the Frenchmen from a Niamey restaurant, according to Niger
officials.

The bodies of Antoine de Leocour and Vincent Delory,
both aged 25, are to be flown back to France on Tuesday, a
French MP said, where an autopsy would be carried out.

French Prime Minister Fillon said Monday that the two
were killed "in cold blood" by their captors as Nigerien and
French troops tracked them through the desert on the
Mali-Niger border in a bid to free the hostages.

He said he believed AQIM was behind the kidnapping. No
one has yet claimed responsibility.

French officials said Leocour was in Niger to marry a
local woman and his childhood friend Delory was visiting for
the wedding.

PTI