Hostage crisis: French nuclear boss heads to Africa

27th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

The chairwoman of French state-owned nuclear giant Areva is to visit the firm's operation in Niger, the company said Monday, after Al-Qaeda militants kidnapped several of her employees there.

"Anne Lauvergeon plans to visit Niger soon," a spokesman said, declining to confirm a report that she would travel on Thursday. The purpose of her visit is to visit Areva employees in the region, the spokesman said.

Areva has been criticised for failing to heed warnings of a kidnap threat that an armed group was seeking to abduct foreign workers in the desert area where seven Areva expatriates were kidnapped on September 16.

The warning said the security situation in the Arlit region -- where Areva runs uranium mines and where the five French nationals, a Togolese and a Madagascan were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda linked militants -- was deteriorating.

Lauvergeon, who normally enjoys appearing in the media, has been keeping a low public profile since the kidnapping.

© 2010 AFP

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