Three Algerian abducted diplomats in Mali return home

Three Algerian abducted diplomats in Mali return home
# 12 July 2012 22:04 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Three of the seven Algerian diplomats abducted in northern Mali have been released and returned home Tuesday on board of an army aircraft in the military airport in Boufarik locality, 45 km southern Algiers the capital, the local El Khabar newspaper announced Thursday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The Movement for Unity and Jihad in Western Africa (MUJAO), which abducted the diplomats, announced four days ago that it has released three hostages, though no confirmation has been provided yet by the Algerian Foreign Ministry.

The newspaper further specified that the three released diplomats were doing well, though they looked exhausted due to their long detention.

Algerian consul in Gao, north-east of Mali, and six diplomats were kidnapped on April 5 following the chaos that reined in this city. JMUJAO claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Algerian authorities have kept dealing prudently with this, as both Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci and Minister for Maghreb and African Affairs Abdelkader Messahel have kept saying that "the hostages are doing well," and this issue is "critical" and should be dealt with a certain degree of "discretion".

For now, four other Algerian diplomats are still detained by MUJAO, including the Algerian Consul.

The spokesman of MUJAO stated earlier that the group requires a ransom worth 15 million euros to release the diplomats.

However, the North African nation has submitted a proposal to the UN to ban the payment of ransoms to terror groups in exchange of releasing hostages, on the pretext that such ransoms are used to finance arm deals of these groups.

MUJAO, a dissident armed group from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI), had claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb attack that targeted the headquarters of the National Gendarmerie in the province of Ouargla, later June.