Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nigerian Update; Jihadists claim responsibility for kidnapping French engineer

They are angry that France is supporting military intervention against jihadists in Northern Mali, and the French ban on Muslim women wearing veils.  Let's pray that Francis Colump is released safely and his captors held responsible.

From RNW December 23

Islamist group claims Nigeria kidnap of French national

The radical Islamist group Ansaru on Sunday claimed the recent kidnapping of a French citizen in northern Nigeria, citing France's push for military intervention in Mali as a justification.

Ansaru "announces to the world, especially the French government, that it was responsible for the abduction of engineer Francis Colump, 63, working for the French company Vergnet," said a statement emailed to journalists.

Late last Wednesday some 30 gunmen stormed Vergnet's residence in Katsina state, where the alternative energy firm has a wind power project.

"The reason for his kidnap is the stance of the French government and the French people on Islam," said the statement written in Hausa, the dominant language in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north.

The group specifically pointed to "France's major role in the (planned) attack on the Islamic state in northern Mali."

It also cited France's "law outlawing the use of Islamic veil by Muslim women."

Paris has backed plans to deploy a west African force to northern Mali to flush out the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist groups who took control of the vast desert territory earlier this year.

Last year, France passed a law banning the wearing of the full-face veil.

"We inform the French government that this group will continue launching attacks on the French government and French citizens ... as long as it does not change its stance on these two issues," the Ansaru statement said.

Ansaru is less well known than Islamist group Boko Haram, which is waging a deadly insurgency across northern Nigeria that has killed hundreds since 2009. Boko Haram has said it wants to create an Islamic state in the north.

The two groups are known to have ties but are seen as independent.

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