European hostages set free in Mali

Fourteen European hostages kidnapped from the Algerian Sahara desert and being held in Mali have been released by their captors on Sunday.

    The captors kept the hostages in the region's vast deserts

    Authorities in the Mali town of Gao said the captors belonging to an Islamist group released the hostages in the northeastern region of Kidal.

    The release brought to end a painfully long ordeal, that repeatedly hit global headlines.

    The 14 hostages were the last of the 32 European tourists abducted in February and March by suspected members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) as they travelled through Algeria's Sahara deserts.

    The GSPC is said to have links with the al-Qaeda.

    Seventeen of the hostages were freed by Algerian commandos in May while a German woman died of heatstroke.

    The latest release came after strenous negotiations with the hostage takers.

    Earlier reports suggested the captors were demanding a ransom of some $5.5 million for each person.

    It was also speculated that Amar Saifi, an Algerian army renegade was the leader of the abductors.

    Despite best attempts, the authorities had found it difficult to free the hostages.

    Straddling several countries, the Sahara spans more than 800,000 square miles and policing it is a near impossible task.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    More than 2,300 political parties have registered for the largest electoral exercise in the world.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.