France confirms hostage was slain

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday confirmed the death of a French hostage killed by Al Qaeda’s wing in North Africa, saying in a speech that the slaying of 78-year-old humanitarian volunteer Michel Germaneau “will not go unpunished.”

Militants said Germaneau was killed in retaliation for an attempted rescue raid in Mali last week that resulted in the deaths of six members of the growing Al Qaeda wing, known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Sarkozy defended the failed mission, which he said was ordered after the kidnappers’ apparent refusal to negotiate.


Germaneau was kidnapped in April in Niger while working to improve a school and health facilities. Edwin Dyer, a British hostage, was executed by the same group in 2009, and another French hostage was freed through negotiations this year.

Lauter is a special correspondent