French President Nicolas Sarkozy has confirmed the death of a French hostage killed by suspected al-Qaeda militants in north-west Africa. Sarkozy condemned the killing of 78-year-old Michel Germaneau as “odious”, saying it would not go unpunished. The leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had earlier said Mr Germaneau was killed in revenge for a failed rescue raid in Mali.
Mr Germaneau was kidnapped in Niger in April. A retired engineer, he was in the region as a volunteer aid worker. AQIM leader Abdelmalek Droukdel said in a statement broadcast by al-Jazeera that Mr Germaneau had been killed in revenge for a raid in which six militants died.