The UN Security Council is calling on countries not to pay kidnap ransoms amid reports that the recent release of four Frenchmen in Niger was facilitated by a 20 million euro payment.
Al Qaeda and other extremist groups are estimated to have collected at least 76 million euros in the last three years from what they see as a lucrative business.
Although states are already required not to pay kidnappers under an anti-terrorism resolution adopted in 2001, some European governments do.
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