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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Missing tourists sought in Mali
Rescued hostages wave as they leave plane in Cologne, Germany
The first group of hostages was released in May
A senior German diplomat has arrived in Mali in an attempt to locate a group of 15 tourists - including 10 German nationals - who were abducted five months ago in Algeria.

The diplomat, Juergen Chrobog, has held talks with President Amadou Toumani Toure, seeking his help in finding the hostages.

German television (ZDF) reported last week that the tourists had been taken to northern Mali.

No group has claimed responsibility for the abductions.

But the Algerian Government has blamed the rebel Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat for seizing the tourists as they were travelling in the scenic south of the country.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said in June he was sure the 15 Europeans taken hostage in the Sahara desert were alive.

The Algerian president also expressed concern that the missing tourists had not taken proper precautions when coming to his country.

There had been no word about the fate of the 10 Germans, four Swiss and a Dutchman since another group of 17 adventure tourists from Europe was freed on 13 May when Algerian troops stormed an Islamic extremist hideout.

Missing Sahara tourists 'alive'
17 Jun 03  |  Africa
Saharan hostage 'rescue planned'
20 May 03  |  Africa
Sahara hostage tells of ordeal
15 May 03  |  Africa
Sahara hostages fly home
14 May 03  |  Africa
German plea over Sahara tourists
12 May 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Algeria
06 May 03  |  Country profiles

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