Foreigners Evacuated From City in Mali Following Kidnappings

Posted November 26th, 2011 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Authorities have begun evacuating foreigners from Mali's ancient city of Timbuktu, a day after a tourist was killed and three kidnapped in the latest attack believed carried out by al-Qaida-linked militants.

The foreigners were flown Saturday to other parts of the country.

Officials say gunmen kidnapped Swedish, Dutch and South African nationals Friday and killed a German tourist following a raid on a restaurant in Timbuktu in northern Mali.

The incident came a day after two French citizens were abducted from their hotel in the town of Hombori in eastern Mali near the border with Niger.

No one has claimed responsibility for the two sets of kidnappings.

The militant group, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, says it was behind the kidnapping of seven people in neighboring Niger last year. The group is still holding four French nationals.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb operates across the Sahel, a strip of semi-arid land that separates the Sahara Desert from the rest of Africa.