French Al-Qaeda hostage urgently needs medical aid: mediator
A French woman seized with six other foreigners in Niger last month by an Al-Qaeda-linked group has cancer and urgently needs medical treatment, a Niger-based mediator told AFP on Sunday.
"I have just returned from meeting the kidnappers in the desert where I met two members of the group who said the French woman hostage is sick and can't last much longer without medical treatment," the mediator said by satellite telephone.
The September 16 kidnapping of the seven foreigners -- five French, a Togolese and a Madagascan -- from the uranium mining town of Arlit in the deserts of northern Niger has been claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The mediator said he had met the kidnappers in northeastern Mali's Timetrine region, a mountainous desert area where sources had earlier said the kidnappers had likely moved the hostages from Niger.
Aides to a Malian mediator said they have also been told that Francoise Larribe, 62, who was seized along with her engineer husband Daniel Larribe, is ill.
"The Frenchwoman is sick. We've been told she had been undergone treatment shortly before her kidnapping, but that she needs follow-up care," one of the mediator's aides said.
She underwent chemotherapy shortly before her kidnapping, the sources said.
AQIM posted a photograph and audio recordings of the seven on September 30.
© 2010 AFP