US envoy says France ransoms fed Africa's al-Qaida - Israel News, Ynetnews

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US envoy says France ransoms fed Africa's al-Qaida

Published: 02.08.13, 11:09 / Israel News

The former American ambassador to Mali says France paid $17 million in ransoms to free French hostages and that the money ended up in the hands of the same al-Qaeda militants the country is fighting now.

In an interview that aired Friday on iTele, Vicki Huddleston said the money allowed al-Qaeda's North Africa branch to flourish in Mali. Claude Gueant, who was French President Nicolas Sarkozy's chief of staff at the time, on Friday denied that France had ever paid a ransom and said intermediaries had been negotiating to free the hostages. (AP)

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