'Three more Europeans abducted, 1 killed in Mali'

`Three more Europeans abducted, 1 killed in Mali` Bamako: An armed gang of kidnappers abducted three Europeans and killed a fourth in the Timbuktu region of northern Mali, security sources said on Friday.

The victim who was shot dead had tried to resist his abduction, according to the sources who did not give the nationality of the hostages.

The news of the latest kidnapping comes after two French geologists were abducted by an armed gang from their hotel in the eastern village of Hombori near the border with Niger early yesterday.

French soldiers have now joined Mali's army in the hunt for the pair, according to a news agency journalist in the Hombori region.

Although there has been no immediate claim of responsibility, the incidents are the latest in a series of abductions of foreigners believed to be the work al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

AQIM has bases in the northern Mali desert from which it organises raids and kidnappings and deals in the trafficking of weapons and drugs.