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Page last updated at 11:53 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 12:53 UK

Algerian named in Briton killing

Edwin Dyer in captivity
Militants released this photograph of Edwin Dyer in February

An alleged Algerian militant has been named as a suspect in the killing of a British citizen in north-west Africa, officials in Mali have told the BBC.

They say Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, listed by the UN as a known al-Qaeda member, is responsible for Edwin Dyer's death.

Mr Dyer was kidnapped in Niger in January, but was being held in Mali.

Mr Abou Zeid, also known as Abib Hammadou, has previously been accused of involvement in other abductions in the region over recent years.

The US and UN last year listed him as a leader of al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, also known as al-Qaeda in North Africa.

He was linked to the February 2008 abductions of two Austrian tourists in Tunisia, who were later freed.

'Barbaric'

The 43-year-old is also a suspect in the 2003 kidnappings of a group of European tourists, eventually also released, in northern Mali.

Abu Qatada, file image
Abu Qatada is awaiting extradition to Jordan, where he faces life in jail

On Thursday, two Malian sources close to the investigation into Mr Dyer's reported death told the BBC they believe the alleged militant was responsible.

The British government said on Wednesday it believed Mr Dyer was dead. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said it was a "barbaric act of terrorism".

The militants had posted a statement on an Islamist website announcing the Briton had been killed on 31 May.

They had threatened to kill Mr Dyer if the British government did not free radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada from a UK prison.

Mr Dyer was in a group of European tourists who had been visiting the Anderamboukane festival on nomad culture when he was kidnapped.

Switzerland said it would redouble efforts to secure the release of one of its citizens, Werner Greiner, captured alongside Mr Dyer.

His wife, Gabriella Barco Greiner, was released by the hostage-takers in April.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said the group is believed to have been kidnapped by local bandits and sold on to Algerian members of al-Qaeda in Mali.



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SEE ALSO
Algeria and Mali target al-Qaeda
06 May 09 |  Africa
Africa militants make UK threat
27 Apr 09 |  Africa
Profile: Al-Qaeda in North Africa
03 Jun 09 |  Africa
Country profile: Mali
04 May 11 |  Country profiles
Europeans 'kidnapped in Sahara'
23 Jan 09 |  Africa

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Expatica Belgium New Al-Qaeda cell is growing threat to West - 44 hrs ago
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