Two French journalists killed in northern Mali after abduction

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The French foreign ministry confirmed on Saturday the death of two French journalists working for international radio station RFI after they were kidnapped in northern Mali.

“RFI journalists Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont were found dead in Mali,” the ministry said in a statement, adding they were kidnapped in the town of Kidal by an “armed group.”

“The French government, in conjunction with the Malian authorities will make every effort to find out as soon as possible about the circumstances of their death,” said the statement.

The radio station reported hours earlier that Dupont and Verlon were kidnapped in the town of Kidal at 1:00pm local time.

RFI has not had any news from them since," the radio reported in its evening news broadcast.

The region’s governor also told Reuters that the two journalists had left Mali’s capital Bamako on Tuesday for Kidal. “I have just got confirmation they were abducted by four armed men,” he said.

They were seized after they had interviewed Kidal resident Ambeiry Ag Rhissa, a local culture official the MNLA Tuareg separatist group.

“When they left, I heard a strange noise outside. I immediately went out to see and when I opened my door, a turbaned man pointed a gun at me and told me go back inside,” Rhissa told Reuters by telephone.

“I could not see how many men were there,” he said.

The kidnapping happened four days after four French hostages taken in Niger by al Qaeda’s north African wing in September 2010 were released.

The French foreign ministry said it was checking the information while the defense ministry could not be reached for comment.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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