[QODLink]
Africa
European tourists seized in Niger
Briton, German and two Swiss kidnapped near border with Mali.
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2009 00:58 GMT

A senior military officer said that Tuareg fighters were responsible for the kidnappings

A group of European tourists have been kidnapped in Niger near the Mali border.

A Briton, one German, and two Swiss were taken on Thursday, according to General Amadou Baba Toure, governor of Gao province in Mali.

A senior Malian military officer told the Reuters news agency that the attackers were Tuareg fighters.

The group was said to be returning from a festival at Anderamboukane, when they were taken at Bani-Bangou, 60km from the border with Mali.

In December, two Canadian diplomats disappeared in Niger. They are presumed to have been kidnapped and have not been heard from. The government has accused Tuareg fighters of committing that attack.

Tuareg base attacked

Separately on Thursday, 31 Tuareg fighters were killed when the Malian army attacked a base at Kidal, around 200km to the north of Menaka, Mali's defence ministry said.

The base was allegedly under the command of Ibrahima Bahanga, whose group Malian authorities accuse of attacking army posts and trying to control smuggling routes in the Sahara.

Tuareg - a nomadic desert people - groups have been fighting the army in northern Mali this year and have undertaken uprisings in Niger and Mali in past years in an attempt to gain autonomy for their traditional homeland.

Up to 1.5 million Tuareg are said to live across parts of Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Niger and Mali. About 700,000 Tuaregs live in Niger and 300,000 in Mali.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.