“ISLAMIST MILITANTS who have been holding five French citizens since kidnapping them in Niger last month have demanded that France withdraw its ban on Muslim face veils and pay a €7 million ransom to secure their release, it was claimed yesterday.
Al-Arabiya television reported that initial contacts with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) via intermediaries in the Sahel region were “not encouraging” due to the nature of the demands.
“The abductors have unrealistic demands which Mali and France could not accept . . . including withdrawing a ban on the face veil in France and the release of some of the group’s elements detained in France, Mauritania and other countries,” the channel quoted unnamed sources.”
7 foreigners kidnapped near uranium mining site.
France: We are ready to negotiate with AQIM, Interior Minister says.
AQIM releases hostages’ tape.
AQIM: French hostage needs immediate medical care.
Constitutional Council approves burqa ban.