Al-Qaida offers exchange for French hostage

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CAIRO (AP) — An al-Qaida’s North Africa offshoot has demanded the release of four of its members in exchange for a French hostage it kidnapped two months ago.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb said in a statement posted on an Islamic militant Web site Monday that their only condition for the freeing of Pierre Camatte is the release of four of their group arrested by Mali several months ago.

“We give France and Mali 20 days from the date of issuing this statement to respond to our legitimate demand otherwise the two governments will be fully responsible for the French hostage,” it said in its statement dated Sunday.

The group announced last month its kidnapping of Camatte in Mali Nov. 25 and three Spaniards in Mauritania five days later.