Al-Qaeda Releases Video of Hostages

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb releases a video showing two hostages begging for their lives.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Al Qaeda (illustrative)
Al Qaeda (illustrative)
Flash 90

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al-Qaeda's north African arm, on Monday issued a video of a French national and a Dutch national they are holding hostage in which the two men urge their respective governments to negotiate for their release.

According to Reuters, the video, posted on a popular jihadi forum by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's media branch, is divided into two scenes showing each hostage in a different location.

The first shows Frenchman Serge Lazarevic, who has been held in the Sahara for almost three years since being kidnapped in Mali, wearing a black turban and sitting in the passenger seat of what appears to be a 4x4.

"I am very sick, my kidneys hurt and I am suffering from very high blood pressure.... I fear my life is in danger since the French intervention in Iraq,” he said, according to Reuters.

"I ask you Mr. President (Francois Hollande) to do everything to free me because you are responsible for everything that will happen to me," he added, ending his statement with a message to his family.

The French president's office said in a statement that the video had been authenticated by intelligence services.

"It is a recent proof of life that we had been expecting for a long time," the statement read, adding that the president was in touch with regional countries to use all forms of dialogue to release the hostage.

The last public proof of life for Lazarevic was in June. Philippe Verdon, another Frenchman kidnapped alongside Lazarevic, was killed by his captors in northern Mali.

The second segment shows Dutch national Sjaak Rijke, who was taken from a restaurant in Timbuktu in November 2011 during a trip across the Sahara.

"Today's date is 26th September 2014... it is now more than 1,000 days since my captivity in the Sahara," said Rijke, who was wearing a white shirt with a grey sheet hiding the background.

"I'm suffering from serious back problems and I'm not well emotionally. I hold my government responsible for any harm that comes to me. Please help me."

Reuters could not independently verify the footage of Rijke.

In September, AQIM along with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) warned the United States that it would suffer from “dark days” following its decision to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.

AQAP and AQIM also called on the people of 10 Arab countries that have joined the coalition against the Islamic State group to prevent their governments from acting against ISIS.