Bin Laden blames French "injustice" for abductions-TV
27 Oct 2010 18:46:12 GMT
By Erika Solomon
DUBAI, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said the kidnapping of five French nationals in Niger last month had been prompted by France's unjust treatment of Muslims, in an audio message aired on Al Jazeera television on Wednesday.
"How is it right for you to occupy our countries and kill our women and children and expect to live in peace and security?" a speaker who sounded like bin Laden said in the message directed to the French people.
"The equation is clear: you are killed as you kill and abducted as you abduct, and as you damage our security we damage your security."
Five French nationals and two Africans were kidnapped in Niger in September, in an operation for which al Qaeda's north African wing (AQIM) claimed responsibility. [ID:nLDE68T1XK]
The September 16 kidnapping was an escalation in the hostilities between the militant group and France. AQIM killed 78-year-old French hostage Michel Germaneau in July after French commandos took part in an unsuccessful raid to free him.
"The way to preserve your security is to end all aspects of your injustices against our Muslim nation, the most important of which is for you to withdraw from Bush's loathed war in Afghanistan," bin Laden said.
French authorities said last month the country was on heightened alert after receiving a tip-off that a suicide bomber was planning to attack its transport system. Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said Wednesday's tape, if authenticated, would vindicate the government's precautions. "If these statements are confirmed, it reminds us that the threat is real and our vigilance must be total," he told a parliamentary commission.