Paris has info that suggests Al-Qaeda hostage alive: Hollande

6th November 2014, Comments 0 comments

French President Francois Hollande said Thursday Paris had reason to believe that Serge Lazarevic, kidnapped in Mali by Al-Qaeda in 2011, was still alive.

"We have evidence that suggests he is alive.

We have proof that he is likely still being held," Hollande said in a rare live television appearance, though he acknowledged this information was not recent.

Lazarevic is the last French hostage still being held worldwide, after hiker Herve Gourdel was beheaded in September by Islamic State-linked militants.

He appeared in a video aired in June by Dubai-based Alaan television urging Holland to act to secure his release.

Wearing a black turban, sporting a long beard and flanked by armed men, Lazarevic said the video was recorded on May 13.

He was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) on November 24, 2011, along with Philippe Verdon who was found shot dead last year.

He was accompanying Verdon on a business trip when they were seized by armed men at a small hotel in Hombori, in Mali's north, according to his relatives.

On Thursday, Hollande also said that a probe into the murder of Gourdel was "moving forward".

"The Algerian government is doing its job and gives us information all the time," he said.

"The murderers are now known.

"Algerian authorities are hunting down 15 people suspected of having taken part in the 55-year-old's kidnap and execution.


© 2014 AFP

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