Frenchman abducted in western Mali by Al-Qaeda-linked Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa could probably be dead, French foreign ministry has said.
“The statement from MUJWA, responsible for his kidnapping, leads us unfortunately to believe today that Mr Rodriguez-Leal is probably dead, even though no material proof can allow us to confirm it,” Foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said in a statement on Tuesday.
Earlier, the group told AFP that the hostage was killed because France is “our enemy.”
Mr Nadal added: “We condemn the act of this terrorist group. We had, many reasons to be pessimistic about the fate of our compatriot.”
Mr Leal, 63, a French citizen born in Portugal, had crossed into Mali from Mauritania by car in November 2012. He was kidnapped near Mauritania and Senegal borders.
In a separate statement, French President Francois Hollande (left) pledged to “do everything to know what happened to Mr Leal and will not leave this crime unpunished.”
( Courtesy Xinhua ……… Source ………. New Africa Business News)