Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, journalists with Radio France Internationale, were killed in the Kidal region of northeastern Mali Saturday after they were kidnapped by a group of men.
In declining to respond to claims at least three dozen were arrested within 48 hours after the journalists' deaths, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said, "We have to respect the procedure. This is a crime, a murder," RFI reported.
Those detained were said to be friends and acquaintances of four suspects and not directly involved in the killings.
Their names were found in documents discovered in a vehicle abandoned by the kidnappers, Malian officials said.