Rebels: $18.4 Million Paid For Hostage ReleaseJuly 20th, 2012 11:40 am Associated Press
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A spokesman for the Islamist rebel group that freed three European hostages in north Mali this week says they received a ransom of €15 million ($18.4 million) and the liberation of two imprisoned group members in exchange.
Adnan Abu Elwalid Sahraoui of the jihadist group Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, known as MUJAO, threatened Friday to take more hostages from Western countries.
The mediators and European governments did not comment on whether a ransom was paid for Wednesday’s release of the two Spaniards and one Italian. The three were kidnapped from a refugee camp in southern Algeria last October and held in north Mali.
MUJAO’s hostage-taking indicates it could be entering the kidnapping business and attempting to mimic the tactics of al-Qaida’s North Africa branch, which has bankrolled its operations through ransom money.