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Bodies of French journalists abducted in Mali returned

From Khushbu Shah, CNN
updated 2:18 AM EST, Tue November 5, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The journalists were abducted after interviewing a rebel
  • French President Francois Hollande called the killings "despicable"
  • The journalists worked for Radio France International

(CNN) -- The bodies of two French journalists, who were killed in Mali, arrived in France Tuesday, Radio France International reported.

Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon worked for Radio France International and were kidnapped Saturday morning.

The abduction occurred after the journalists were interviewing a Tuareg rebel near the northern town of Kidal, a local governor said, according to RFI sister network France Info.

Both were kidnapped by four men in a Toyota, said Gov. Adama Kamissoko of Kidal.

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Kidal was one of the strongholds of the Islamic militant Tuareg uprising last year that plunged Mali into chaos after a military-led coup. Following the coup, Tuareg rebels occupied the northern half of the country.

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As part of France's intervention this year to flush out militants in Mali, the French military secured the area around Kidal.

The two reporters were abducted in front of the home of a member of the Tuareg rebels' National Movement of a Liberation of Azawad, RFI reported.

The two journalists could be heard resisting their abduction, according to their driver, who was forced by the gunmen to lay on the ground, RFI said.

French President Francois Hollande called an emergency meeting with ministers Sunday about the incident.

Hollande condemned the killings, calling them "despicable."

The kidnappings and deaths came the same week four French hostages were released. They were abducted in 2010 by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in neighboring Niger.

Italian journalist held captive in Syria is headed home

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