Dead body found in Mali is French hostage

French president confirms body is that of geologist Philippe Verdon who was kidnapped in 2011 by al-Qaeda-linked rebels.

Last Modified: 16 Jul 2013 05:37
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Verdon, right, was kidnapped from a hotel while on business in northeastern Mali [AFP]

French President Francois Hollande has confirmed that a body found in northern Mali was that of hostage Philippe Verdon and vowed the killing would not go unpunished.

The French geologist, who was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) from a hotel while on business in northeastern Mali in November 2011, was already believed to be dead.

Confirming his death on Monday, Hollande said: "Those responsible for the death of our compatriot must be identified and brought to justice."

"The remains will be transferred to our country as soon as possible and autopsies will allow us to know the cause of death."

We will then determine the cause of death and nothing will go unpunished

Francois Hollande, French president

Verdon's captors announced in March that the 53-year-old had been executed in response to France's military intervention in Mali.

Hollande had said earlier that a body believed to be that of Verdon had been found 10 days earlier in northern Mali and that officials were doing "everything possible" to confirm the identity.

"We will then determine the cause of death and nothing will go unpunished," Hollande said at Mali's embassy to Paris, where he was awarded the highest rank in the country's National Order.

At least seven French citizens remain captive in Africa, with another two in Syria.

"I am aware of the anguish of the families with loved ones still held hostage in the Sahel, and I wish to reassure them that the government is continuing to work full-out to obtain their release and their return to France," Hollande said.

France sent 3,000 troops to Mali, its former colony, in January to help the weak Malian military drive out al-Qaeda-linked rebels who had seized control of the country's north.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.