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  #46  
Old 17 Jul 2011
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French hostage families renew calls for release (Magharebia.com)
Ten months now. Dire outlook for the hostages in the current situation. It does give some hope that kidnappings will end when there is no money forthcoming from the French.

"In March, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) issued ransom demands, which included 90 million euros and the release of AQIM prisoners held in France. The demands were roundly rejected by the French government.
"We cannot negotiate on these bases," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said.
"What AQIM is demanding in return for the release of hostage is much greater than the assistance we're currently giving to the state of Mali in its development, some 53 million euros a year," French lawmaker Francois Loncle said.

The stance found support from counter-terrorism experts, who fear that paying terrorists would solidify their position and weaken the recent blow suffered by al-Qaeda at the hands of the Mauritanian army in the Wagadou Forest.
"The idea that the international public opinion had of AQIM is that the organisation was not an ideological group but just a group seeking to make a profit through drug trafficking and kidnapping of foreign nationals," political analyst Sidi Mohammed Ould Younis told Magharebia.
The French refusal to meet the ransom "will further disfigure the image of AQIM in the eyes of public opinion and aggravate its financial weakness, as it today has a dire need for money", he added.

For Salafist ideology expert Said Ould Habib, AQIM's ransom demand was a manifestation of its growing weakness.
"AQIM's demand of ransom establishes two assumptions: first, their feeling of danger because of the military strike, and therefore, they seek to have funds to help them stand on their feet again; second, their feeling of strength derived from their possession of advanced Libya weapons," he added.
"No ransom should be given to those terrorists," Ould Habib added. "Rather, they should be confronted militarily even if the French have to sacrifice their own hostages for the rescue of thousands of citizens. And when AQIM realises that kidnapping hostages is no longer a source of money, it will give up kidnapping."
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  #47  
Old 20 Sep 2011
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A year has passed, and Daniel Larribe, Thierry Dole, Marc Feret and Pierre Legrand are still being held by AQIM
AFP: Qaeda-held Frenchmen mark year in captivity
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  #48  
Old 16 Nov 2011
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Over 400 days now. The intrigue is baffling (in French)
Otages français Niger : Rivalités entre négociateurs - actu-match - ParisMatch.com
Short version in English
http://www.ennaharonline.com/en/international/7679.html
"A French secret agent worked with Al Qaeda to share ransoms"!

Last edited by priffe; 18 Nov 2011 at 01:31.
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  #49  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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2 years now - long time....
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  #50  
Old 23 Jun 2013
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1000 days that these guys have been held now.

Rallies mark 1000 days for hostages | News24
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  #51  
Old 29 Oct 2013
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Free at last

Today the remaining four hostages from Arlit were liberated after over two years
no details yet
Les otages français enlevés au Niger ont été libérés
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  #52  
Old 29 Oct 2013
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Three years, no? But great news. Here's the BBC's version:
BBC News - Four French hostages freed in Niger - President Hollande
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  #53  
Old 29 Oct 2013
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Losing track of the years....three it is. A very long time.

Guessing that Areva paid for their release, letting Hollande say that France never pay ransoms.
The remaining hostages are a different matter, but let's hope they will now also regain their freedom.
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  #54  
Old 29 Oct 2013
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Quote:
Guessing that Areva paid for their release, letting Hollande say that France never pay ransoms.
I suppose so, too. But why would it take so long? [an answer here]

As a reminder, the remaining 5 are the French 'geologist' from Hombori, Nov 2011.
The 3 tourists from Timbuktu grabbed a day later (SE, NL, SA/UK)
And the Portuguese guy from Diama a year ago.

Ch

Last edited by Chris Scott; 26 Nov 2013 at 12:41.
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  #55  
Old 29 Oct 2013
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Great news about the release. Three long, long years.
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  #56  
Old 31 Oct 2013
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The release of the four French hostages coincides with the lifting of the arrest warrants in Bamako against four touareg rebellion leaders, Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh, Mohamed Ag Intalla, Ahmada Ag Bibi and Alghabass Ag Intalla.
Justice malienne | Mali : la justice lève les mandats d'arrêt contre quatre responsables de la rébellion touarègue
And, not surprisingly, Iyad Ag Ghaly is also looking for impunity - some say that the release came about now not because the money was ready to be paid out, but because Ag Ghaly negotiated the release.
Terrorisme | Otages français : Iyad Ag Ghali, le chef d'Ansar Eddine, a-t-il négocié son impunité ?

According to Niamey, there wasn't even any French directly involved in the negotiations.
French version: A convoy with touareg and French left Kidal Oct 21 without any means of communication (for fear of being tracked) but with a suitcase with cash (€20M+) that they exchanged for the coordinates of the hostages. Convoy returned to Kidal Oct 29, and the hostages were flown to Niamey.

Niger version: touareg leader Mohamed Akotey, former minister, now on the Areva board, close to president Issofou, spent several months in negotiations, and then went to Kidal, set up a meeting for the exchange 100 kms north of Kidal. He was then picked up by a helicopter sent from Niamey, they made the exchange and three hours later landed in Niamey.

Terrorisme | Libération des otages d'Arlit : en coulisses, les Nigériens contredisent la version française

One must wonder about the complicitiy by Kidal touaregs in high positions in the kidnappings of the last few years. All the above mentioned are from the same tribe, Ifoghhas, and they know each other very well. Iyad and Akotey were leaders of the rebellions of the 90's, Iyad in Mali and Akotey in Niger. And the Areva hostages were held by Abdelkrim, the touareg jihadist (now deceased), who just happens to be a cousin of Iyad.
Surely a lot of crooks in the Kidal region will now be wading in money.
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  #57  
Old 31 Oct 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by priffe View Post
Surely a lot of crooks in the Kidal region will now be wading in money.
And also with the experience of how to run one of these hostage taking deals. Which means any tourist passing through while that knowledge is current is on their radar - not that there will be any/many.
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  #58  
Old 7 Nov 2013
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Interview in French with Daniel Larribe on how to survive three years in the desert
L'ex-otage au Niger Daniel Larribe obligé de s'expliquer sur sa barbe
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  #59  
Old 21 Nov 2013
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Long article, in French, offering some explanations why it took three years to negotiate the release of the Areva hostages.
Sahel | Niger : comment Issoufou a organisé la libération des otages enlevés à Arlit
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