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Jean Pierre Verdon

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March 20, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb, one of the violent Al Qaeda-linked militias active in North and West Africa, claims to have executed a French hostage in retaliation for France's military operation in Mali. France intervened in the West African nation in January at the request of the Malian government, after several militias, including the Al Qaeda affiliate, swept toward central Mali after earlier taking over all of the country's north. The French military and other African forces, including those of Mali, are involved in heavy fighting in a northern mountainous region, Adrar des Ifoghas, where the militias holed up after losing control of the major northern towns.
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