Islamists issue ultimatum over Algerian hostages
An Islamist group that kidnapped seven Algerian diplomats in Mali has warned Algiers that if it fails to meet its demands within 30 days, the hostages' lives will be in danger.

A text from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) stated, "We are issuing an ultimatum of less than 30 days to the Algerian government to meet our demands, or the lives of the hostages will be in great danger. The hostages are still alive."

"The Algerian government knows our demands ... There is still time for talks. Afterwards, it will be late," added the statement, which was written by spokesman Adnan Abu Walid Sahraoui.

The group, an spinoff from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), abducted the Algerian consul and six members of his team from Gao on April 5.

They claimed the abduction last October of three aid workers from a refugee camp near Tindouf in western Algeria: two Spanish nationals, a man and a woman; and an Italian woman. The group has demanded 30 million euros and the release of two Sahrawis held in Mauritania in return for the two women being held.

Sahraoui said last week that "negotiations only concern the Italian and Spanish women hostages". He made no mention of the Spanish man.

MUJAO is said to have broken off from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in order to spread jihad to west Africa rather than confine themselves just to the Maghreb or Sahel regions. AQIM is also holding a number of foreign hostages.
Posted by: ryuge 2012-05-09