Somali rebels to release message from French hostage: SITE

7th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Somalia's Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab rebels were to release a message from a French security advisor who was kidnapped 11 months ago, the SITE monitoring service reported Sunday.

The Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) said they would issue a message on behalf of the Shebab to the people of France from the advisor, SITE said.

The GIMF did not give a time for when the message would be released, it said.

The last public announcement on the advisor's situation came in September 2009 when the rebels issued a set of demands to the French government, asking for the immediate end to any political and military support for the "apostate government of Somalia" and withdrawal of French personnel and advisors from the country.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner rejected the demands and pledged suppport for the troubled government in Mogadishu.

Two French agents were captured by Islamists in Mogadishu on July 14.

One of them, held by the more political Hezb al-Islam group, escaped last month and returned to France.

For the release of the second, Shebab demanded the release of "mujahedeen prisoners" in return.

According to the Shebab, the French agent came to Somalia "to collect intelligence for the French government" in support of foreign "forces of the crusade" in Somalia."

The term was thought to refer to the African Union forces currently comprising some 5,000 troops from Uganda and Burundi.

Somalia has been riven by internal unrest for years, with the strongest hardline groups waging a bloody offensive against forces loyal to the transitional government whose control of the lawless capital has been reduced to a few streets.

© 2010 AFP

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