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Al-Qaida hostages released

April 23, 2009

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has released four hostages held in northern Mali or thereabouts. Two Canadian diplomats and two female European tourists have been set free. Robert Fowler, the UN special envoy to Niger, was kidnapped there with a colleague and spirited away to some desert hideout, while the female tourists were part of a group of four taken later. The other two members of that group remain in captivity.

More evidence, as if it was needed, that AQIM’s Saharan bands are a semi-criminal racket more interested in making ransom money than slashing infidels’ throats Iraqi-style. Fowler was, to the best of my knowledge, the biggest catch that any al-Qaida branch has ever made, and if bin Ladin/Zawahiri had had any influence over this part of the world, I predict we would have seen a very different ending.


Tuareg rebels from the Front For Forces of Redress retracted their initial statement claiming responsibility for the kidnapping, saying their Web site had been hacked.

“My website was hacked” is a Tamashek expression meaning approximately:

Rather than dealing with this negotiation crap ourselves, we traded whitey to more experienced hostage-takers for a box of AK-47s and a pickup full of counterfeit Marlboros.

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