Niger kidnappers free Algerian: security sources
Al-Qaeda linked gunmen in Niger have released an Algerian national abducted last week but are still holding a French hostage, security sources in the west African country said Thursday.
"The Algerian hostage has been released," one of the sources said, adding that he was released in the last few days and was already back in Algeria.
The release was confirmed by a second security source, who said that the Frenchman with whom he had been kidnapped, "is still being held".
Sources close to the case said the Algerian had been a driver for the Frenchman, who is reportedly in his 70s.
The men were kidnapped on April 20. The French foreign ministry said on Monday they had been abducted in the so-called "Red Zone" on the southern rim of the Sahara desert that tourists are advised to avoid for security reasons.
Meanwhile, in Algeria, the daily En Nahar reported that the Algerian had been released by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) in the Mali desert, and had returned home.
© 2010 AFP