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Bin Laden: kidnapping a warning to France

POY2001121936 - 19 DECEMBER 2001 - UPI PICTURES OF THE YEAR - FILE PHOTO - 24 NOVEMBER 2001 - KARACHI, PAKISTAN: Students of an Islamic school shout anti U.S. slogans as they hold a poster of terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden during a demonstration following Friday prayers in Karachi, Pakistan Nov. 23, 2001. mk/UPI
POY2001121936 - 19 DECEMBER 2001 - UPI PICTURES OF THE YEAR - FILE PHOTO - 24 NOVEMBER 2001 - KARACHI, PAKISTAN: Students of an Islamic school shout anti U.S. slogans as they hold a poster of terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden during a demonstration following Friday prayers in Karachi, Pakistan Nov. 23, 2001. mk/UPI | License Photo

DOHA, Qatar, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Osama bin Laden demanded an end to French intervention in Africa Wednesday, saying the kidnapping of five Frenchmen in Niger was a warning.

In a recording released to al-Jazeera purported to be the fugitive al-Qaida leader, bin Laden called on the French to stop intervening "in the affairs of Muslims in North and West Africa."

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Al-Qaida's North African wing has claimed responsibility for the September kidnappings of five French mining employees, along with two others from Madagascar and Togo. It released photographs last month showing them sitting on the sand, surrounded by armed guards.

The hostages are believed to be held in the mountains of northwestern Mali. France says it has not received any demands.

"The taking of your experts in Niger as hostages, while they were being protected by your proxy there, is a reaction to the injustice you are practicing against our Muslim nation," Bin Laden said.

He also denounced a new French law banning the wearing of full face veils in public.

"If you unjustly thought that it is your right to prevent free Muslim women from wearing the face veil, is it not our right to expel your invading men and cut their necks?"

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