/ 26 November 2011

‘No contact’ from SA man’s kidnappers in Mali

A South African man was abducted in Timbuktu, Mali, the international relations department said on Saturday.

The abduction was picked up on Friday and a South African team in the area followed it up, spokesperson Clayson Monyela said.

The family of the 36-year-old man said they were hesitant to reveal his identity.

“We were told to try and keep his name out of the press because it might give the abductors a chance to do something,” the man’s father said.

He said the abductors had not contacted the family to demand a ransom.

Al-Qaeda unit
“We heard that the families of the other men were contacted but there has been absolutely no contact with us yet.”

He said his son was returning home from time abroad to settle down.

“He was in banking. This was going to be his final adventure before he settled down to join me in my business.”

SAFM news reported on Saturday that the abductors were allegedly part of an al-Qaeda unit stationed in the region.

The Associated Press reported earlier on Saturday that a German man was killed and two others from the Netherlands and Sweden were abducted.

Officials ordered a plane to evacuate foreigners from the tourist destination.

The men’s tour guide Ali Maiga told AP the man also held a British passport.

Maiga was with the tourists during Friday’s attack at a Timbuktu restaurant.

A witness and an official said gunmen burst into the restaurant, grabbed four tourists dining there and executed one when he refused to climb into their truck.

Dutch officials did not say whether any of the hostages were Dutch. The abductions come before an expected official visit by Mali’s president to the Netherlands next week.

“In the interests of the people involved, we never comment on these cases,” foreign ministry spokesperson Ward Bezemer said.

Friday’s abduction came after two French citizens were grabbed in the middle of the night from their hotel in the Malian town of Hombori on Thursday.

French judicial officials had opened a preliminary investigation into their abduction. — Sapa