DUBAI - A group claiming to be al-Qaida's north African wing said it had kidnapped a German man and demanded the release of a Muslim woman imprisoned in Germany in exchange for his freedom.
In a statement posted on Islamist Internet forums, the group, which called itself al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), named its German hostage as Edgar Fritz Raupach, without saying where he had been seized or where he was being held.
A German citizen was kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria's second city of Kano earlier this year, but the German foreign office refused to confirm whether the two cases were related.
A Nigerian security source said he had received confirmation from German authorities that the man abducted in January was Raupach.
"We inform you that your citizen Edgar Fritz Raupach is held captive by the mujahideen of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb," said the group, adding it would let Raupach go if the German authorities released a Muslim woman from jail.