UPDATE 2-Mali kidnapping won't pressurise France-Hollande

Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:55am EST
 
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* French man kidnapped in non-Islamist controlled area

* Qaeda already holds six French hostages

* New hostage-taking could help speed-up intervention

By Tiemoko Diallo and John Irish

BAMAKO/PARIS, Nov 21 (Reuters) - France will not be pressurised by the kidnapping of a French citizen in southwest Mali, President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday, stressing the hostage had not been seized in the Islamist-controlled north.

The kidnapping may increase tensions as African nations draw up plans to intervene in Mali where almost two-thirds of the country fell under Islamist hands after a coup earlier this year.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Hollande appeared to single out al Qaeda's north African arm, which already holds six French nationals in the Sahara region.

"We will do everything to find our citizens," Hollande told a joint news conference with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in Paris.

"For the terrorists, capturing a hostage is a way to put pressure on us, but it won't weigh on us. I have already told the hostage takers that it was time to free them (hostages)."   Continued...