Kidnapped Frenchman has been killed: Somali Qaida-linked Islamists
By Feisal Omar, ReutersMOGADISHU--Somali militants linked to al-Qaida said on Thursday they had executed a French agent who French commandos had tried but failed to rescue at the weekend.
January 18, 2013, 12:23 am TWN
Al Shabaab rebels have said the death sentence imposed on Denis Allex was to avenge what it called France's growing persecution of Muslims and its military operations around the world against Islamists, including in Mali.
The kidnapping of dozens of hostages at a gas plant in Algeria by Islamist fighters on Wednesday and al Shabaab's execution claim illustrate the fallout from Mali's war against loosely allied bands of al-Qaida-inspired rebels in Africa and beyond.
“Let Muslims enjoy his execution and the French cry,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, told Reuters by telephone.
The militants said Allex, held hostage since mid 2009, had been killed at 16:30 GMT on Wednesday.
France's line has been that Allex was killed in Saturday's failed rescue mission when helicopter-borne French troops swooped into southern Somalia under the cover of darkness.
The raid, in which two French commandos were killed, coincided with the launch of French air strikes against Ismalist rebels in Mali in West Africa.
The Paris government had been concerned the lives of various French hostages held in Africa would be at risk if it intervened militarily against the al-Qaida-aligned combatants in Mali, but said on Saturday the two military operations were not connected.
Al Shabaab's decision to kill Allex had been unanimous, it said on Wednesday, in light of France's military operations in Afghanistan and Mali and support for “African invaders in Muslim lands.”