At the end of December, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) published a picture on the internet of a grey-haired man, identified as Mr Cicala, kneeling on a rug in the desert next to a woman. The woman was named in a caption as his wife, but her face and passport were obscured.
AQIM had demanded in February that Mali's government free imprisoned militants before 1 March in exchange for the couple.
Shortly before the deadline expired, Mr Cicala urged Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to intervene in a purported audio message.
AQIM members in Mali are also believed to be holding three Spanish hostages who were abducted shortly before Mr Cicala and Mrs Kaboure. A French hostage, Pierre Camatte, was released in February, days after four militants were released from jail in Mali.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb emerged in early 2007, after a feared militant group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), aligned itself with Osama Bin Laden's international network.
It has waged a campaign of suicide bomb attacks and ambushes in Algeria, and in recent years has become more active in the Sahara.