Results tagged “France”
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Officials are denying that a ransom was paid for the recent release of four French hostages held captive for three years by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb; reports allege that a ransom of $26 million was paid. A negotiator from Niger, former Tuareg rebel Mohamed Akotey, is said to have been instrumental in securing their release. President Hollande said he has not forgotten about seven more French nationals still being held hostage; there are thought to be four in Syria, two in Mali or Niger, and one in Nigeria.
President Hollande said he ordered the recent large-scale joint operation in Mali to help stabilize the country for elections in late November, and warned of the influence of Islamist terrorists evidenced by recent suicide attacks against Chadian peacekeeping troops. Bernard Squarcini, the former head of French intelligence said he was "astonished" that the prime minister claimed to be "deeply shocked" by reports that the US NSA recorded millions of French phone calls.
"The French intelligence services know full well that all countries, whether or not they are allies in the fight against terrorism, spy on each other all the time," Squarcini said.