French Army Kills Suspect Linked To Murder Of Two Journalists

French Army Kills Suspect Linked To Murder Of Two Journalists

French soldiers have killed a Malian jihadist suspected of being responsible for the kidnapping and deaths of two French journalists in 2013, Defence Minister Florence Parly said Friday.

Parly said French forces in the Sahel region had killed “four terrorists” in an operation in northern Mali on June 5, including Bayes Ag Bakabo, the prime suspect in the deaths of RFI radio reporters Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon.

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“His neutralisation means the end of a long wait,” Parly said, adding that Bakabo was in the village of Aguelhok and was preparing an attack against UN peacekeeping forces.

Dupont and Verlon, both in their 50s and veteran journalists for RFI, were seized in the flashpoint northern Malian town of Kidal in November 2013 after interviewing a separatist Tuareg leader.

Their bullet-riddled bodies were found a few hours later, with the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group later claiming the killings as revenge for France’s decision to intervene against jihadist groups in the country earlier that year.

A French investigation into the murders concluded that Bakabo, also a known drug trafficker, drove the pick-up truck used to kidnap the two journalists.

Parly expressed her “thoughts for the family and loved ones of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon.”

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She said the operation “illustrates one of the main priorities of France in the Sahel region: taking down the main heads of terrorist groups that are causing havoc in the region

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