Hostages' bodies return to France Tuesday: MPs

11th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

The bodies of two young Frenchmen killed after being taken hostage in Niger by suspected Al-Qaeda-linked kidnappers will be returned to France on Tuesday, lawmakers said.

The bodies of Antoine de Leocour and Vincent Delory, both aged 25, would be flown back to France in the afternoon, right-wing MP Francois Sauvadet said late Monday after being briefed by Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

Socialist MP Francois Loncle added that an autopsy would be carried out.

Fillon said Monday that the two were killed "in cold blood" by their captors as Nigerien and French troops tracked them through the desert on the Mali-Niger border in a bid to free the hostages.

He said he believed a local branch of the Islamist network Al-Qaeda was behind the kidnapping. No one has yet claimed responsibility.

French officials said Leocour was in Niger to marry a local woman and his childhood friend Delory was visiting for the wedding.

© 2011 AFP

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