French interior minister leaves for Mali, will discuss hostage-taking in Niger with presidentBy AP
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
French minister heads to Mali amid hostage crisis
PARIS — The office of France’s interior minister says he has left for Mali and plans to discuss the hostage-taking of seven foreign workers in neighboring Niger with Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure.
A ministry spokeswoman says Brice Hortefeux had been previously scheduled to travel to Mali for celebrations around the 50th anniversary of the West African nation’s independence from France.
Spokeswoman Elisabeth Boucher said Tuesday that Hortefeux was on a two-day visit.
French authorities fear the five French nationals and two Africans seized were kidnapped by al-Qaida-linked militants near a French-operated uranium mine in Niger.
The hostages were last seen heading toward Mali and Algeria with about 30 captors in Africa’s vast Sahel region.
Tags: Africa, Europe, France, Hostage Situations, Kidnapping, Mali, Niger, Niger-kidnappings, Paris, West Africa, Western Europe