Niger locates Frenchmen's kidnappers near Mali: official
Niger forces have located and exchanged fire with people who kidnapped two Frenchmen from a Niamey restaurant but held off for fear of wounding the hostages, a government spokesman said Saturday.
"Around 3:00 am (0200 GMT) one of the security and defence force teams intercepted the kidnappers a few kilometres (miles) north of Ouallam and there were exchanges of fire," Laouali Dan Dah told journalists in Niamey.
Ouallam is around 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the Mali border.
"The security and defence forces did not want to open fire in a major way for fear of wounding the hostages and putting their lives in danger, which is why the kidnappers slipped through the net.
"What's certain is that we know their position and the security and defence forces are positioned where the kidnappers are and they are still in Niger. We are very hopeful that this crisis will end well."
© 2011 AFP