President Nicolas Sarkozy has confirmed a French hostage held by Al Qaeda militants in the Sahara has been executed.
In a televised address, Sarkozy vowed to catch the killers of retired engineer Michel Germaneau.
“I condemn this barbarous and odious act against this innocent man. This crime will not go unpunished,” the French president said.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed they had killed Germaneau over the weekend.
The group snatched him in Niger in April where he had been working a volunteer to build a school for Tuareg nomads.
Reports say his death was revenge for a raid by Mauritanian troops in Mali in April.
France said it provided “technical and logistical” support for the raid, although some say it was a bungled attempt to rescue the hostage.