Algeria says four of its diplomats still held in Mali

July 16, 2012 03:19

ALGIERS - Algeria confirmed on Sunday that three of its diplomats, abducted by Islamist rebels in northern Mali in April, had been freed, but said the remaining four were still being held.

An Algerian security source and a Malian Islamist told Reuters on Friday that all seven diplomats had been released but there was no official comment on the matter until Sunday."I can say that three of our diplomats have been freed and are back home. What I can say also is that we are hopeful to see all seven diplomats handed over as quickly as possible," Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci told a news conference.

Algeria said in April its diplomats - a consul and six consular staff - were kidnapped from Gao, part of a swathe of territory in northern Mali then under the control of Tuareg-led separatists who had pushed out the military in a rebellion launched in January.

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