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Niger: AQIM releases new video of French hostages taken two years ago

A new video has been released of four French men kidnapped by al Islamist militants in northern Niger two years ago.

Niger french hostagesEnlarge
From the Sahara Medias website, in Mauritania. (Screengrab)

A new video has been released of four French men kidnapped by al Islamist militants in northern Niger two years ago, Reuters reported.

The men, who are being held by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), appealed to French President Francois Hollande and their employer, the French nuclear company Areva, to continue negotiations to free them.

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The video was posted Saturday on the Mauritanian news site Sahara Medias, but is believed to have been filmed more than a week ago.

It’s the first sign in 18 months that the hostages, abducted in Niger's northern uranium mining zone in September 2010, are alive. They were among a group of seven people taken captive.

Reuters reported that the men – Pierre Legrand, Daniel Larribe, Thierry Dole and Marc Ferret – appeared to be in good health.

They were filmed kneeling in the desert with armed men in traditional Bedouin clothing and turbans.

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"It's Wednesday, August 29, 2012. We have now been here for nearly two years. I am in good health and I am being well treated," Larribe said.

René Robert, the grandfather of Legrand, told Radio France Internationale the host ages looked tired, but had no problems expressing themselves.

They call on the French state and businesses (to secure their freedom). I call on French journalists to turn to these institutions to help us find out the things we don’t know.  We’ve never lost hope, but our hope is reinforced by this proof that they are alive – and that our grandson has not forgotten us any more than we have forgotten him.”

The kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 90 million euros, however France has refused to negotiate with AQIM.

The country's Foreign Ministry said it was working to authenticate when the footage was shot.

The video footage of the hostages:
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120909/video-french-hostages-niger