Sarkozy's 'burning concern' for Niger hostage
President Nicolas Sarkozy voiced what he called his "burning concern" on Monday over the imminent fate of an elderly Frenchman held hostage in Niger by an Al-Qaeda offshoot.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) captured 78-year-old Michel Germaneau in northern Niger on April 22 and on Sunday released a message threatening to kill him, according to the US SITE monitoring agency.
AQIM, which in a previous message demanded a prisoner exchange, said France faced a 15-day deadline starting from Monday.
Sarkozy said in a television interview that he was worried about two journalists kidnapped in Afghanistan but that he had a "much more burning concern about another compatriot held in the Sahel region."
"That's the truth," he added.
French journalists Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier, a reporter and cameraman for the France 3 network, were kidnapped last December with their translator, a fixer and a driver on a road in eastern Afghanistan.
© 2010 AFP