Executio: Militants say French agent dead

Fri, Jan 18, 2013, 00:00

Somali militants linked to al-Qaeda say they have “executed” a French agent whom French commandos had tried but failed to rescue at the weekend.

Al-Shabaab rebels said yesterday the death sentence imposed on Denis Allex, held hostage since mid-2009, was to avenge what it called France’s growing persecution of Muslims and its military operations around the world against Islamists, including in Mali.

The kidnapping of dozens of hostages at a gas plant in Algeria by Islamist fighters on Wednesday and al-Shabaab’s execution claim illustrate the fallout from Mali’s war against loosely allied bands of al-Qaeda- inspired rebels in Africa and beyond.

“Let Muslims enjoy his execution and the French cry,” said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations.

The militants said Allex had been killed on Wednesday, at 4.30pm GMT. France’s line has been that Allex was killed in Saturday’s failed rescue mission when helicopter-borne French troops swooped into southern Somalia. The raid, in which two French commandos were killed, coincided with the launch of French air strikes against Islamist rebels in Mali.

Al-Shabaab’s decision to kill Allex had been unanimous, it said, in light of France’s military operations in Afghanistan and Mali and support for “African invaders in Muslim lands”. – (Reuters)