France says its journalists 'coldly assassinated' in Mali
PARIS - Reuters
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks to the press at the Elysee Palace in Paris on November 3, 2013 after an emergency meeting with the French President and heads of French Radio station Radio France Internationale (RFI). AFP PhotoTwo French journalists killed in Mali on Saturday were "coldly assassinated" by the "terrorists" that France is fighting in the west African country, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday.
Radio journalists Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont were abducted after interviewing a member of the MNLA Tuareg separatist group in northern Mali.
Their bodies were found by a French patrol 12 km (8 miles) outside Kidal, the birthplace of a Tuareg uprising last year that plunged Mali into chaos, leading to a coup in the capital Bamako and the occupation of the northern half of the country by militants linked to al Qaeda.
A French-led military intervention drove out the militants but there are still pockets of insurgents.
"The assassins are those that we are fighting, the terrorist groups that refuse democracy and elections," Fabius said, calling the killings "heinous and revolting".
"Security in the area and the surrounding areas, especially for French nationals, will be increased," he said, after a specially convened cabinet meeting to discuss the deaths.
Fabius said one of the journalists had been shot twice, and the other three times. He said French forces had tried to find the hostage takers, but to no avail.