Two French radio journalists were kidnapped by gunmen in northern Mali today and killed hours later, the French Foreign Ministry says. It says the bodies of Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont have been found. Earlier, radio station RFI confirmed the kidnappings on its website, saying that the two were taken in the early afternoon by armed men in Kidal and had not been heard from since. The ministry said French and Malian authorities "are putting everything in place so that light can be shed as quickly as possible on the circumstances of their deaths."
A Malian military head, Col. Mamari Camara, said he had received a phone call in the afternoon from his men in the field confirming the two reporters had been taken. The two were grabbed by several armed men in a 4x4 after they finished an interview with a Tuareg rebel leader, a Kidal city official said. Northern Mali last year was seized by a faction of al-Qaeda which has used kidnappings of foreigners, especially French citizens, to bankroll its operations.