One French hostage burnt, other shot: police

13th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

An autopsy on two Frenchmen abducted in Niger, whom the French government said were executed by their captors, showed one had been shot in the face but the other died from burns, police sources said.

The bodies of Vincent Delory and Antoine De Leocour, both 25, were flown back to France on Wednesday.

They were abducted Friday by suspected Al-Qaeda operatives in the Niger capital Niamey and died after French and Niger security forces pursued their abductors across the desert and into neighbouring Mali.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the kidnappers had killed their hostages in cold blood as they were being chased.

French police sources said late Wednesday that the autopsy found that one of the hostages has been shot at point blank range in the face, which would support the government's claim that he may have been executed.

But the second hostage's burns suggest he may have died when the vehicle in which he was travelling went up in flames near the Niger-Mali border.

Malian security sources said French combat helicopters fired on the vehicles of the kidnappers in northern Mali, where the charred wreckage was found.

The source said French commandos opened fire on the vehicles from the air before landing. Several burnt vehicles were discovered at the scene of the assault against the kidnappers which took place on Saturday, he said.

© 2011 AFP

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