On Life, love and Politics

"Random musings about Life, love and Politics. Just my open diary on the events going on in the world as I see it."

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb frees Italians in Mali April 16, 2010

Filed under: Globalization,Religion — kikenileda @ 3:13 PM


A photograph released by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb allegedly showing Sergio Cicala and his wife, Philomene Kabouree (30 December 2009)

In December, AQIM published a picture purportedly of Mr Cicala and his wife

An Italian couple who were being held hostage in the west African country of Mali by al-Qaeda militants have been released.

Sergio Cicala and his wife, Philomene Kaboure, were picked up by an army patrol, local officials said.

Italy's foreign minister said they were "in the hands of Malian authorities" and were being taken to a "safe place".

Mr Cicala and Mrs Kaboure – who is also a citizen of Burkina Faso – were seized in December in neighbouring Mauritania.

They had been driving past the eastern town of Kobenni on 18 December – en route to Burkina Faso to see Mrs Kaboure's 12-year-old son – when they were abducted by gunmen from their four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Map

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.

 

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