LAGOS, Nigeria - Pirates kidnapped two foreign sailors from a tanker off the coast of Nigeria's restive and oil-rich southern delta, a naval spokesman said Sunday, suggesting the crew worked in the black market trade of stolen crude from the region.

DAKAR, Senegal - To kidnap seven foreigners from inside their homes, al-Qaida-linked gunmen in northern Niger forced their way past the security cordon of one of the world's most heavily guarded mining towns.

LAGOS, Nigeria - Pirates armed with Kalashnikov rifles clashed with Nigerian navy forces in a failed bid to take over an offshore oil platform, then kidnapped three French employees of a marine services company while retreating, a Nigerian official said Wednesday.

PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed on Wednesday to mobilize his government to free five French people abducted last week by an al-Qaida affiliate in Niger, calling it a "very serious and worrying affair," according to a government spokesman.

BAMAKO, Mali - France's interior minister is in the West African nation of Mali, where authorities believe al-Qaida-linked militants have brought seven kidnapped foreigners.
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