• France edition
 

Images emerge of man kidnapped in Mali

Published: 26 Nov 2012 17:51 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Nov 2012 17:51 GMT+01:00

Two photos published on the site Alakhbar showed the man, identified as Alberto Rodriguez Leal, 61, with his head bowed, wearing a blue shirt and flanked by two armed men dressed in kakhi robes.

"My name is Rodriguez Leal Alberto. I was kidnapped in Diema, between Nioro and Bamako by MUJAO" the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, read the transcription of comments made by the hostage in an accompanying video.

According to Alakhbar the images were taken on Sunday.

"I ask the French government to respond rapidly to their demands," Leal added.

MUJAO has not yet publicised its requests in exchange for the hostage's release.
 
"I am not at fault in this kidnapping, it is the government which is implicated by its outside actions."

Leal said he trusted the French government would rapidly deal with his situation and "find a favourable outcome."

"For my family, don't worry. I am being well treated," he added.

Leal, who was kidnapped on November 20th while driving in a camper van in south-western Mali from Mauritania, was initially identified by Malian security sources as Gilberto.

He was born in Portugal, but is a French citizen.

MUJAO, one of the Islamist groups occupying the vast arid north, on Thursday claimed responsibility for the latest kidnapping, bringing to 13 the number of hostages held by hardliners in the region.Seven of these are French.

"We claim responsibility for the kidnapping of the Frenchman in south-western Mali near the Mauritanian border," said MUJAO spokesman Abu Walid Sahraoui.

Earlier another spokesman from the group had accused France of wanting "to lead armies against the Muslim people."

MUJAO and Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) swept into Mali's northern cities after the March coup, on the flanks of a separatist rebellion by Tuareg desert nomads.

They swiftly ousted their secular Tuareg allies and set about imposing brutal sharia low on the population, prompting some 400,000 people to flee their homes.
  
The armed Islamist groups have ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) whose involvement and presence in the occupation has increased.
  
This has heightened fears among western powers that the region could become a new haven for terrorists seeking to launch attacks in the region or against Europe.
  
France is one of the leading western powers backing west African efforts to send in a force of 3,300 troops to drive the Islamists out of the north.

The intervention plan is awaiting approval from the United Nations.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Top Gear to launch new French version of show
Hit British car series "Top Gear" is coming to France. Photo: Ana Poenariu/AFP

Top Gear to launch new French version of show

France is going to get its own version of legendary British auto series Top Gear with the show set to hit the TV screens by next year. READ  

Ukraine crisis
Mistral deal: Pressure on France as tensions rise
France may be forced to take another another look at its warship deal with Russia. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP

Mistral deal: Pressure on France as tensions rise

Increased tension in the Ukraine has only served to heighten the pressure on France, which so far has stubbornly refused to pull-out of its €1.2 billion deal to sell two Mistral warships to Russia. But will Paris be forced to re-consider? READ  

Paris building blast: Eighth body found
Firefighters pull a body from the rubble after an explosion brought down an apartment block near Paris on Sunday. Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP

Paris building blast: Eighth body found

French rescue workers pulled an eighth body out of the rubble of a four-storey building near Paris on Monday. The apartment block collapsed on Sunday after an explosion. Rescuers don't believe anyone else is still missing. READ  

Opinion - School reform
'New five-day week is vital for French pupils'
French primary school pupils will attend school five days a week from now on, despite opposition from parents. Photo: Shutterstock

'New five-day week is vital for French pupils'

The head of a major parents' group in France tells The Local why the new five-day school week will bring French schools into the 21st century. READ  

Ligue 1
Blow for French league as Falcao departs
Radamel Falcao has left French Ligue 1 side to join Manchester United. Photo: AFP

Blow for French league as Falcao departs

The French league was dealt a blow on Monday when one of its star names, Monaco's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, left to join Manchester United. The move shows clubs in France's Ligue 1, with the exception of PSG, cannot compete with Europe's big teams. READ  

Photo of French pupils draws 'racist' backlash
An Education Ministry photo has prompted an online controversy in France, because only one kid is white. Photo: Sophie Brändström/Education Ministry

Photo of French pupils draws 'racist' backlash

The French government has firmly rebuked scores of 'racist' comments left on an education ministry Facebook post which shows a back-to-school scene with mostly non-white children. The image has elicited a furious online debate. READ  

French bureaucrats go after baker for 22 cents
Bureaucrats at the RSI have threatened legal action against a retired baker for a debt of 22 centimes. Photo: AFP

French bureaucrats go after baker for 22 cents

A retired pastry maker from the south of France was given a nasty shock this week when French authorities threatened to take legal action against him over unpaid debt. He stands accused of owing 22 centimes to the state. A stamp in France costs 59 cents. READ  

Ask The Experts - French savings
Saving money in France: What's the best option?
What's the best thing to do with your savings in France? Photo: Shutterstock

Saving money in France: What's the best option?

Ever wondered what's the best thing to do with your savings in France? As part of our "Ask The Experts" series we've invited expat financial adviser Jonathan Cooper to tell you what to do with your hard-earned euros. READ  

France's 'Tony Blair' divides Socialist Party
Does the French PM Manuel Valls remind you of anyone? A younger Tony Blair perhaps? Photo: Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP

France's 'Tony Blair' divides Socialist Party

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls urged Socialist Party rebels to unite behind the government this weekend, as opposition among dissenters on the left against the leader they are increasingly referring to as a French "Tony Blair", continues to grow. READ  

Ligue 1 round-up
PSG in five-goal rout as Bordeaux slip up
Zlatan celebrates after scoring one of three goals against St Etienne on Sunday night. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

PSG in five-goal rout as Bordeaux slip up

French champions PSG made a statement of intent on Sunday beating Saint Etienne 5-0 at the Parc des Princes, while leaders Bordeaux slipped up at home to Bastia and Lyon lost again. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
International
VIDEO: Watch the top five street scams to avoid in Paris
Politics
Take a look at the bulging to-do list that awaits France's new government
Politics
Six questions for France after Hollande ousts rebels
International
Choosing schools in France: Do you go international or French?
Gallery
From kissing to bad-mouthing: Ten ways expats in France drive you mad
Culture
Ten things you need to know about the Liberation of Paris:
Travel
Watch this impressive time lapse video and you'll want to move to Paris
National
Veiled Muslim woman on a French beach prompts politician's angry rant
Travel
Forget Paris and Provence where are the least touristy areas of France?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The battle to liberate Paris from the Nazis
National
What France means to you in just one tweet
National
15 French 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
12 reasons to invest in Paris and seven not to
National
French hamlet 'Death to Jews' mulls name change
National
French tourist caught in Pompeii brothel romp
International
'Forget the Anglo-media's image of France, the reality is much different'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se