Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 16:39 UK

Kidnapped Algerian driver 'is released in Mali'


An Algerian driver kidnapped last week in northern Niger has been released in neighbouring Mali, sources said.

The man had been abducted with a French tourist in a remote desert region close to the border with Mali and Algeria.

"Some people riding camels found him wandering. After some explanations, they took him to Algeria," a military source in Niger told Reuters.

Gunmen linked to al-Qaeda - which has seized several Westerners - were still holding the tourist, the sources said.

Some sources suggest he is being held in Mali.

The pair were taken near the town of Tiguidan Tessoun just days after four Saharan countries opened a military base to counter al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The group is believed to earn money from ransom payments for hostages, although this is never officially confirmed.

It has also demanded the release of some of its captured militants in exchange for hostages.

In February, Mali freed four militants, sparking a row with Mauritania.

Mali's government denied accusations it was giving in to the militants' demands and said the men had served their time.

Two Italians were freed in Mali earlier this month after spending four months in captivity, but two Spaniards are still being held hostage.

Last year, AQIM killed a British hostage, Edwin Dyer.

The group emerged in early 2007, after a feared militant group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), aligned itself with Osama Bin Laden's international network.

It has waged a campaign of suicide bomb attacks and ambushes in Algeria, and in recent years has become more active in the Sahara Desert, where governments struggle to impose their authority and gangs of smugglers, bandits and rebels operate alongside the militants.

Print Sponsor

French tourist 'seized in Niger'
23 Apr 10 |  Africa
Saharan states open military HQ
21 Apr 10 |  Africa
Al-Qaeda frees Italians in Mali
16 Apr 10 |  Africa
French man talks of Mali kidnap
25 Feb 10 |  Africa
Mauritania-Mali row over al-Qaeda
23 Feb 10 |  Africa
Mali releases al-Qaeda militants
22 Feb 10 |  Africa
Spain fears kidnap was al-Qaeda
30 Nov 09 |  Africa
Profile: Al-Qaeda in North Africa
03 Jun 09 |  Africa
Country profile: Niger
07 Apr 11 |  Country profiles


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific