French Nicolas Sarkozy has confirmed that a French hostage held by al-Qaeda militants in the Sahara has been killed.
In a statement, Sarkozy condemned the murder of 78-year-old retired engineer Michel Germaneau as a “barbarous and disgusting act.”
Al-Qaeda kidnapped Germaneau in Niger in April.
The Al Jazeera TV station reported that his murder was in retaliation for a raid by Mauritanian troops against a militant camp in the desert in Mali.
France has admitted it provided “technical and logistical” support in the raid, but there has been speculation that it was a failed bid to rescue the hostage.
France confirms killing of hostage by al-Qaeda