Niger kidnappers not yet identified: Sarkozy

16th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

The kidnappers of seven foreign nationals including five French citizens in sub-Saharan Niger have yet to be indentified, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday.

"These kidnappings happened overnight and took place in two different locations in the city of Arlit," Sarkozy said, adding that an emergency French defence council would meet in Paris to "plan what measure to take."

"At this moment, the authors of these kidnappings have not been identified," he said on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Brussels.

"I have asked the Niger authorities to do everything to try to find the hostages and free them. A local investigation is under way," the French leader said.

Sarkozy said he had asked French diplomatic and military officials to help Niger.

"Of course, I want to tell the families of the hostages that France will do everything to free them just as it has done every time," he said, urging French citizens in the region to "redouble their vigilance."

The five French nationals were kidnapped along with a Togolese and Madagascan in a uranium mining region of the west African country that is prey to Al-Qaeda militants, officials said.

© 2010 AFP

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