Bodies of slain Frenchmen in Niger begin flight home

12th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

The bodies of the two young Frenchmen abducted and then killed in Niger over the weekend began the flight home to France, leaving Niamey airport late Tuesday.

The coffins of Vincent Delory and Antoine De Leocour, both 25, were placed in the hold of an Air France plane that is expected back in Paris' Charles-de-Gaulle Roissy airport early Wednesday morning.

De Leocour was a former aid worker who had been due to marry a Niger woman next week.

Delory, who was to have been his best man, had arrived in Niamey for the wedding just hours before gunmen snatched them from a restaurant in the city centre on Friday night.

France and Mali, where the final assault on the kidnappers took place after they were chased across the border by Niger forces, have both said that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was behind the abduction.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has said that Niger forces chased the kidnappers as far as the border, then asked the French to help when they crossed into Mali.

French Defence Minister Alain Juppe said: "We have every reason to think that the hostages were executed by their kidnappers."

© 2011 AFP

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