Mauritanian Website Publishes Images of French Hostage
[An Nahar] A Mauritanian news website on Monday published images of a French citizen kidnapped last week by one of the armed Islamist groups controlling the north of neighboring Mali.
Two photos published on the site Alakhbar showed the man, identified as Alberto Rodriguez Leal, 61, with his head bowed, wearing a blue shirt and flanked by two gunnies dressed in kakhi robes.
"My name is Rodriguez Leal Alberto. I was kidnapped in Diema, between Nioro and Bamako by MUJAO" the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, read the transcription of comments made by the hostage in an accompanying video.
According to Alakhbar the images were taken on Sunday.
"I ask the French government to respond rapidly to their demands," Leal added. MUJAO has not yet publicized its requests in exchange for the hostage's release.
"I am not at fault in this kidnapping, it is the government which is implicated by its outside actions."
Leal said he trusted the French government would rapidly deal with his situation and "find a favorable outcome."
"For my family, don't worry. I am being well treated," he added.
Leal, who was kidnapped on November 20 while driving in a camper van in south-western Mali from Mauritania, was initially identified by Malian security sources as Gilberto.
He was born in Portugal, but is a French citizen.
MUJAO, one of the Islamist groups occupying the vast arid north, on Thursday grabbed credit for the latest kidnapping, bringing to 13 the number of hostages held by hardliners in the region. Seven of these are French.
Posted by: Fred