Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said today it was responsible for the kidnapping in November of three Spanish aid workers in Mauritania and one Frenchman in Mali, Al Jazeera reported on its website.
The claim was made in an audio tape passed to the Doha-based television network.
“France and Spain will be informed later of the legitimate demands of the mujahedeen,” the spokesperson, who identified himself as Saleh Abu Mohammad, said on the tape.
Three Spanish aid workers disappeared in Mauritania on November 29 after an attack on the road between the capital Nouakchott and the coastal trading city of Nouadhibou.
The Spanish government said today it was investigating the report and could not confirm the group’s claims.
However, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said last month that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb appeared to have been responsible for kidnapping the three Spanish nationals.
Gunman also kidnapped a French national in Mali’s remote east on November 26, a government source said, prompting the French government to ask its citizens to leave northern and eastern Mali because of an increased militant threat level.