Mali believes three Spanish aid workers who went missing in Mauritania last month are being held on its territory by al Qaeda’s wing in North Africa, a source close to efforts to free them said yesterday.
“Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb states it has kidnapped them and is holding them in Mali, and we have every reason to believe them,” said the Malian source, who requested anonymity.
“We are seeking contact with them to negotiate the conditions of their release,” the source said of the three Spaniards and a Frenchman seized in a separate incident in Mali itself.
Last week an Internet statement purporting to be from the al Qaeda wing said the four were in good health and being treated well, adding that France and Spain would be informed later of conditions for their release.
Three Spanish aid workers disappeared in Mauritania on Nov. 29 and the Frenchman in Mali on Nov. 26.