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Three tourists kidnapped, another killed in Mali

The four were in a restaurant in Timbuktu when four armed men forced them out of the building.

ARMED MEN burst into a restaurant in Timbuktu, Mali and abducted four tourists earlier today before killing one of the captives when he refused to get into their car.

Witnesses have described the four as European, but their nationalities and identities are not known. Reuters reports that a government source claims the tourists are from Germany.

Today’s incident follows the kidnapping of two French citizens from a hotel in Hombori, Mali yesterday.

A hotel owner in the town told the Associated Press that the men were working on a site outside the town, where a company is aiming to extract materials for cement production.

The French foreign minister said that not much is known yet about the situation, but that the French government is working to secure their release.

Timbuktu was a popular tourist location in Mali before an increasing number of kidnappings deterred visitors from the area. The Department of Foreign Affairs warns against all travel to northern Mali, and says “a high degree of caution” should be exercised elsewhere in the country given the high risk of kidnapping and terrorist attack.

No one has claimed responsibility for the latest kidnappings.

The group Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb is known to have brought hostages into Mali from neighbouring countries. Last year it claimed to have carried out the kidnapping of seven mining executives in Niger.

Three were released and the four remaining hostages are understood to be French citizens. The four are now believed to be in Mali, Reuters reports.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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