France fuels Al Qaeda with €25m infusionNovember 8, 2013
Talk about funding both sides of the conflict.
While France has led the way in the fight against jihadists in Mali, it also continues to pay ransoms to Al Qaeda and its offshoots to secure the release of Frenchmen abducted abroad. The latest ransom—a 35 million USD transfer to Al Qaeda in North Africa—is a direct violation of the G8’s recent public pledge against making such payments.
From International Business Times on Oct. 30:
France ‘Paid Al-Qaida €25m to Release Hostages in Niger’
France paid up to €25m ($34m, £21.5m) in ransom to al-Qaida to free four Frenchmen who had been held hostage for years in the African Sahel, according to sources close to the operation.
The sources dispute claims by French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian that no money was paid to secure the release of Pierre Legrand, 28, Daniel Larribe, 62, Thierry Dol, 32, and Marc Féret, 46.
Le Drian said the four, who had been kidnapped in 2010 in Niger, were released thanks to the brokerage of the country’s President Mahamadou Issoufou.
“There was no assault. There was an initiative taken by the networks of [President Issoufou] which permitted liberation without clashes,” Le Drian told France’s TF1.
However a source close to the Nigerian negotiating team told AFP a large sum was paid to the group responsible for the abduction, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
“Between 20 and 25 million euros was paid to obtain the release of the French hostages,” the source said. Similar claims were made by Le Monde…