Europeans targeted in latest Mali kidnaps, killing

Story highlights

  • A foreigner killed in northern Mali Friday was probably a German, officials say
  • A Swede and a Dutchman were kidnapped, along with a third person, officials say
  • Two French citizens were confirmed kidnapped in central Mali Thursday
Foreign ministry officials in Mali said Saturday three people from other countries were kidnapped Friday, while a fellow foreigner who was killed was probably German.
The incidents in northern Mali are the latest in a series targeting Westerners in recent days, with France confirming Thursday that one person had been killed and five kidnapped elsewhere in the West African nation.
Friday's abductions and killing occurred in the northern Timbuktu province of Mali.
A spokesman at the German Foreign Office told CNN there was "a high probability" that the foreigner killed was a German citizen.
"No further German has been involved in the abductions," the spokesman said.
Ward Bezemer, a spokesman at the Dutch Foreign Ministry, confirmed that one Dutchman had been kidnapped.
And Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt confirmed via Twitter that a Swede was among those seized. "Entire region becoming even more dangerous," he posted.
Media reports suggest the third person kidnapped Friday is a South African who lives in the UK.
A British Foreign Office spokeswoman told CNN: "We are aware of the reports and we are urgently looking into them to establish the facts."
The British Foreign Office advices against all travel to northern Mali, which encompasses part of the Sahel region that lies south of the Sahara desert.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned the kidnappings in a statement Saturday.
"I was appalled to learn of the death of one person yesterday," she said. "I offer my deep condolences to the family and friends of the victim and my solidarity with all the hostages currently being held in the Sahel.
"I call on the Malian authorities to do their utmost to ensure that the hostages are quickly and safely released. Malian commitment to fight the scourge of terrorism is key to security and prosperity in the Sahel region."
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told French television Thursday that two French citizens were among those kidnapped in the town of Hombori in central Mali.