21 November 2012

Mali: Seventh French Hostage Captured in West Mali

A seventh French citizen has been kidnapped in the Sahel as France backs west African preparations to intervene in the Islamist-controlled north of Mali. President François Hollande on Wednesday said that hostage-taking would not change the country's foreign policy.

"We must do all we can to find our citizen," Hollande told a press conference during a visit by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. "I have already alerted anyone who might be in the region to take all necessary precautions."

The kidnapped man is 61-year-old Gilberto Rodriguez Léal, who was born in Portugal but has acquired French nationality.

He crossed into western Mali from Mauritania in a car on Tuesday morning and was captured near the town of Kayes, according to the Mauritanian press agency Ami.

Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius appealed to French nationals "not to go to that part of Mali, where they put their lives and their safety in danger".

Six French citizens were already being held hostage in the region, where Islamist militias, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and several offshoots, are active.

Earlier this year one group threatened to kill the six if France intervenes militarily in north Mali.

Hollande said on Wednesday that hostage-taking would have no effect on French policy.

France has said it will not send troops to Mali but will provide training and support to a planned west African force.

Copyright © 2012 Radio France Internationale. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.