No news of hostage after Mali raid
French-backed Mauritanian raid gives no news of the French hostage taken by al-Qaeda.
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2010 16:06 GMT
French defence ministry said it could not find signs of life or death of Germaneau [AFP] 

France has said the joint operation with Mauritanian troops to free the French hostage taken by al-Qaeda affiliated group inside the Malian territories is finished.

Sources at the French defence ministry said on Saturday that between 20 to 30 French soldiers took part in Friday's operation, which left six members of armed group killed.

The operation, however, failed to provide decisive information on whether Michel Germaneauis was still alive or dead.

The French defence ministry believes the site the French-backed Mauritanian targeted on Friday, did host the French hostage, but he was not found at the site at the time the raid.

"We have no proof of life or death of Michel Germaneau," the French source said.

Earlier on Saturday, a military source in Nouakchott said  Mauritanian troops were continuing their raid inside Malian territory against members of an Al-Qaeda affiliated group.

"Combing and tracking operations are continuing against the al-Qaeda terrorist camps and we have been able to seize a new arsenal of weapons, explosives and ammunition," the source said.

The armed group gave France a deadline until next week to arrange a prisoner exchange or it would kill the hostage.

The retired engineer Germaneau, 76, was captured in northern Niger on April 22.

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