Chad + 5 more

FACTBOX-Foreigners held in Africa

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Jan 11 (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's North African wing have threatened to execute a French hostage if four al Qaeda prisoners being held in Mali were not released within 20 days.

Here are details about foreigners held throughout Africa:

* CHAD:

November 2009 - Frenchman Laurent Maurice, an agronomist, was kidnapped on Nov. 9 near the border with Sudan, while working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Chad. The ICRC suspended its activities in the region on Nov. 10.

* CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC:

November 2009 - A group calling itself the African Free Eagles said on Nov. 30. it had kidnapped three French aid workers -- Maurice in Chad, and two in the Central African Republic (CAR) -- and threatened to kill them unless the French authorities began negotiations.

The two hostages seized in the CAR work for the French-based aid agency Triangle and are being held separately from Maurice.

* MALI:

November 2009 - Pierre Kamat, a Frenchman, was kidnapped on Nov. 25 after visiting the town of Tinderman, officials said.

-- Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said on Monday on a website that Kamat would be killed if its demand was not met.

December 2009 - Mali say they believe three Spanish aid workers who went missing in Mauritania the previous month were being held on its territory by al Qaeda's wing in North Africa.

* MAURITANIA:

November 2009 - Spaniards Albert Vilalta, Alicia Gamez and Roque Pascual disappeared on Nov. 29 from a convoy run by a Barcelona-based humanitarian aid organisation to deliver computers and other equipment to poor communities.

-- Mauritanian security sources said an attack took place on the road between the capital Nouakchott and the coastal trading city of Nouadhibou.

-- Mali believes the three Spanish aid workers are being held on its territory by al Qaeda's wing in North Africa, a source close to efforts to free them said on Dec. 16.

December 2009 - An Italian couple were missing and their bullet-riddled car was found abandoned on Dec. 19 in eastern Mauritania, near the border with Mali.

-- The vehicle was found in an area where armed groups with links to al Qaeda are known to operate, and a local journalist said they had probably been kidnapped.

-- Abderrahmane Ben Meddou was arrested in Mauritania's eastern town of Kobenni on Dec 21. He is suspected of having helped identify and follow the Italian couple in return for promises of thousands of dollars.

* SOMALIA:

April 2008 - A Briton and a Kenyan working on a U.N.-funded project were seized by gunmen and taken to Jilib, 280 km (175 miles) south of Mogadishu. They are still being held.

July 2009 - Somali gunmen kidnapped two French security advisers working for the government from the Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu on July 14. Police said one escaped on Aug. 26 after killing three of his captors, but Marc Aubriere denied killing anyone and said he slipped away while his guards slept.

* PIRACY:

More ships were seized in December by pirates, now holding at least 13 vessels and more than 200 crew members hostage. Captives include a British couple whose yacht was hijacked off the Seychelles. In the latest incident, pirates seized a Singaporean flagged tanker on New Year's day.

* SUDAN:

October 2009 - French aid worker Gauthier Lefevre was captured in Darfur on Oct. 22. The 35-year-old is head of the ICRC's office in el-Geneina, west Darfur, and his captors have demanded a $1 million ransom. Sudan has refused to pay. Sudan arrested three Sudanese in late November suspected of helping to kidnap Lefevre.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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