Al-Qaeda Claims responsibility for kidnapping Canadian diplomats in Niger

Al-Qaeda’s North Africa branch claimed yesterday it is holding hostage a senior UN peace envoy, his aide and four tourists kidnapped in the Sahara Desert. United Nations special envoy for Niger, Robert Fowler, and his aide Louis Guay, both Canadian diplomats, were kidnapped Dec. 14 in the southern Sahara country. Four tourists, including two Swiss, a German woman and a British man, were kidnapped by gunmen Jan. 22 near the border in neighbouring Mali, their tour operator said. The al-Qaeda group did not issue demands for the hostages’ release, but in the past it has obtained ransoms for Western tourists kidnapped in the Sahara, the world’s largest desert.

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