Sick French Al-Qaeda hostage given medicine

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A French woman suffering from cancer who is being held hostage by Al-Qaeda with six other people in Mali, has received medication, a source close to the kidnapping case told AFP on Friday.

Francoise Larribe, 62, was kidnapped along with four other French citizens, a Togolese and Madagascan in a mining town in Niger in September and mediators raised fears she would not last much longer without treatment.

"I can tell you that the French hostage has received medication thanks to the intervention of Mali. The medication has arrived at its destination," the Malian source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Larribe reportedly underwent chemotherapy shortly before her kidnapping.

"This medicine will benefit her. The kidnappers committed to giving her the package and I know this has been done."

The September 16 kidnapping of the seven foreigners from the uranium mining town of Arlit in the deserts of northern Niger has been claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The French government has indicated it is willing to talk to the kidnappers, but has announced no official demands from the group.

According to the source, "the negotiation are difficult" but "it is necessary to remain optimistic."

© 2010 AFP

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