Robert Fowler and Louis Guay, two Canadian diplomats kidnapped in December in the West African nation of Niger, appear to be held by al-Qaeda in a newly-released video.

The existence of the video was revealed in Mali. It appears to confirm that Fowler and Guay were taken across the border to Mali after being abducted on a highway near Niamey, the capital of Niger.

The video adds further evidence to the theory of al-Qaeda involvement in the kidnapping. The leading theory among the investigators is that the two Canadian diplomats are being held by a cell of al-Qaeda’s branch in North Africa, suspected of masterminding a series of similar kidnappings of Western tourists in Mali, Algeria, and Tunisia.

Officials from the federal government and the UN refused to comment. “We are aware of the reports of such a video but we can’t comment further, and we won’t comment, because we could endanger the lives of the Canadians,” said Catherine Loubier, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon. The Malian government is “playing a central role” in the investigation, according to the RFI report yesterday.

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