PARIS (Reuters) – Al-Qaeda’s North African arm, AQIM, has issued a video of a French national and a Dutch national they are holding hostage in which the two men urge their respective governments to negotiate for their release.
The video, posted on a popular extremist forum by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s media branch, is divided into two scenes showing each hostage in a different location.
The first shows Frenchman Serge Lazarevic, who has been held in the Sahara for almost three years since being kidnapped in Mali, wearing a black turban and sitting in the passenger seat of what appears to be a 4×4.
“I am very sick, my kidneys hurt and I am suffering from very high blood pressure… I fear my life is in danger since the French intervention in Iraq.
“I ask you Mr President (Francois Hollande) to do everything to free me because you are responsible for everything that will happen to me,” he said, ending his statement with a message to his family.
The French president’s office said in a statement that the video had been authenticated by intelligence services.
“It is a recent proof of life that
we had been expecting for a long time,” the statement read, adding that the president was in touch with regional countries to use all forms of dialogue to release the hostage.