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New proof of life of the Italian kidnapped in Algeria

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BAMAKO - A new proof of life of the Italian hostages abducted Feb. 2, 2011 in Algeria and detained since by Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Sahel countries, "exists" as a "video", learned AFP Monday from Malian sources familiar with the matter.

  •    "A new proof of life of the Italian hostage, abducted in early February 2011 in Algeria and held in the Sahel, exists," said one of these sources. "This is a video," it added.
  •    Another Malian source confirmed this information by stating that "proof of life is a video sent by the kidnappers."
  •    On 18 February, the Italian tourist, Sandra Maria Mariani, 53, kidnapped in south-east of Algeria, had indicated being alive and in the hands of AQIM, in an audiotape broadcast by the television channel Al- Arabiya based in Dubai.
  •    Italian officials now roam the Sahel countries to seek support from regional governments to secure her release, sources said.
  •    According to these sources, she is detained by the combat unit (katiba) of AQIM led by Abu Zeid, a leader of the organization considered a radical.
  •    He is responsible for a series of kidnappings, including that of British Dyer executed in June 2009, and those of five French, a Malagasy and a Togolese, in northern Niger, in September 2010.
  •    Three of those seven hostages, a French woman, a Malagasy and a Togolese, were released in late February; the French remaining four are still in the hands of AQIM.
  •    The existence of a new proof of life of the Italian hostage is released at the announcement of the supposed death of the leader of Al Qaeda, Oussama bin Laden, killed during a U.S. operation in Pakistan.
  •    AQIM has made allegiance to Osama bin Laden, who had demanded the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the release of four French hostages.
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  • Ennaharonline/ M. O.

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