3 June 2009

Mali: Al-Qaeda Group Executes Briton

An Al-Qaeda affiliated group in Africa has executed a British citizen in Mali, news agencies are reporting.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb took Edwin Dyer, the British citizen, and three other tourists hostage on January 22 in Mali's neighbor, Niger during a festival. The group announced the execution on May 31 on an Arabic language website. News agencies say the British government has reason to believe the announcement.

"The British captive was killed so that he, and with him the British state, may taste a tiny portion of what innocent Muslims taste every day at the hands of the Crusader and Jewish coalition to the east and to the west," the statement from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said, according to the BBC.

British Prime Minister Gordon condemned the "barbaric" and "appalling" act. "My thoughts are with Edwin Dyer’s family. I offer them the condolences of the whole country," Brown added.

Brown said though that the British government should not capitulate to terrorists and not pay ransoms. "This tragedy reinforces our commitment to confront terrorism," Brown said. British opposition leader David Cameron echoed Brown's thoughts, telling members of parliament that "the prime minster is right - we must never give into terrorists," according to the BBC.

Initially, many thought that Dyer and the other tourists were taken hostage by the Tuareg rebels that operate in Mali and Niger. In February, though, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, which has taken other westerners hostage in recent months, issued a statement of responsibility.

The group initially demanded that the British release Abu Qatada, a prominent terrorist suspect. Later reports said the group was looking for ransom money. The latest deadline it gave for its demands to be met was May 30.


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