N.African militants release video of French, Dutch hostages
The North African jihadist group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb released a video Monday purporting to show a French and a Dutch hostage held since November 2011 in the Sahara.
In the video, found on the Internet by the private terrorism watchdog SITE, French national Serge Lazarevic and a man identifying himself as Sjaak Rijke appeal to their governments to negotiate their release.
There is nothing in the footage of Lazarevic to suggest when it was shot, but Rijke says he is speaking on September 26 this year and refers to a US-Taliban prisoner exchange conducted in May.
Lazarevic, who was kidnapped in the Malian town of Hombori in November 2011, appears in a dark headdress and with a thick beard in the front of a pick-up truck with a black jihadist banner behind him.
Speaking in French, he complains that he is gravely ill and urges President Francois Hollande to seek his release.
Lazarevic last appeared in an AQIM propaganda video in June.
The hostage who identifies himself as Rijke appears against the backdrop of a simple off-white sheet.
Speaking in Dutch-accented English, he too urges his home government to help free him.
Rijke was kidnapped in the Malian town of Timbuktu, also in November 2011.
He has appeared in a series of AQIM videos, most lately in September 2013.
© 2014 AFP