French Hostages Found Dead in Niger

January 9, 2011 Updated: January 9, 2011

Two French hostages were found dead on Saturday after they had been kidnapped from a restaurant in Niger's capital of Niamey by armed men believed to have links with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the regional branch of Osama bin Laden's network, the French Defense Ministry reported.

The ministry said that French and Nigerian military forces trapped the kidnappers who tried to escape to southern Mali. The abductors were finally neutralized by both the military forces.

French forces found the bodies of the two hostages far away from actual crossfire with the kidnappers, thus rejecting suspicions that the pair had been killed during the firefight, reported the U.K's The Independent newspaper.