PARIS (AFP) – A video released by Al-Qaeda’s north African branch on Monday apparently showing seven kidnapped Westerners, including four Frenchmen, seems “credible,” the French foreign ministry said.
Mauritanian news agency ANI, which obtained the video, said the footage appears to show the hostages kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) making statements pleading for their release.
“Based on an initial analysis, the video seems credible to us and provides new proof of life of the four French hostages kidnapped in Arlit (northern Niger) on September 16, 2010,” ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said, adding that the footage was being authenticated.
“We are in contact with the families of our compatriots,” the spokesman said. “All government departments are mobilised to allow for their release and their return to their loved ones.”
The families would meet with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday, he added.
The release of the video coincides with the third anniversary of the abduction of the four Frenchmen — Pierre Legrand, Thierry Dol, Marc Feret and Daniel Larribe — from a uranium compound in northern Niger.
They are being held along with a Dutchman, a Swede and a South African who were abducted from Timbuktu in northern Mali in November 2011, ANI said.
In the video, the Frenchmen said they were speaking on June 27, according to ANI.