Niger Kidnappings continue as five employees of SATOM, a subsidiary of the VINCI group, and one of French manufacturer AREVA’s employees and his wife were kidnapped during the night of September 15. The Al-Qaeda In Maghreb, a terrorist group originally founded in 1998 and operating in Algeria that became an al-Qaeda franchise in 2006, issued a communiqué Wednesday claiming responsibility for the kidnapping.
The terrorist group has reduced “entire regions of Africa into no-go zones for foreigners,” the Associated Press reports.
In an interview with French radio RTL Monday, AREVA security consultant Colonel Jacques Hogard said that the group obviously benefited from inside information, as the residence of a French delegation then on location was known to them. They infiltrated the heavily guarded uranium mining town, which is one of the world’s largest nuclear fields. The terrorists outsmarted the Nigerian soldiers-patrolling the town’s streets following an agreement with the French firm-and the 150 private security employed by the company posted at the gates of the personnel residential area and in front of the buildings.
Statements posted online on jihadist forums, tracked by US group SITE Intelligence, said the kidnappings were retaliation for operations conducted against them. Radio France International said AQIM also warned France not to launch a military operation in a rescue attempt.