December 12, 2011

Malian security forces have arrested four suspects accused of kidnapping two Frenchmen last month on behalf of al Qaeda’s North African wing, the West African state said on Monday.

Mali is under growing international pressure to step up the fight against al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is plying a lucrative trade in the ransom of Westerners kidnapped in the Sahel region.

“We confirm the arrest of four kidnappers,” a spokesman for the Malian presidency said.

“They are subcontractors for AQIM, to whom they handed over the hostages,” the spokeman said, adding that pictures of the kidnappers would be broadcast on television later on Monday.

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