Militants claim kidnap of missing Red Cross team in Mali

Defaced signs for radical Islamist group Mujao in Gao, Mali. (Joe Penne, Reuters)

Defaced signs for radical Islamist group Mujao in Gao, Mali. (Joe Penne, Reuters)

The Red Cross said on Monday that one of its vehicles carrying five people went missing two days ago in northern Mali between the towns of Gao and Kidal.

Jean-Yves Clemenzo, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross based in Geneva, said all five of the people on board the vehicle were Malian.

Reports on Tuesday said Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) official Yoro Abdoulsalam confirmed it kidnapped a Red Cross group, and established it was the one reported missing earlier in the week. Mujao is an al-Qaeda ally in the Islamic Maghreb that occupied the north of Mali in 2012.

Despite a French military presence in Mali for over a year, the government is still battling pockets of armed Islamic militants carrying out sporadic attacks. – Reuters, additional reporting by Staff Reporter

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