Al Qaeda might have killed British hostage: Brown

June 3rd, 2009 - 7:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon Brown London, June 3 (Xinhua) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday that Al Qaeda might have killed a British hostage in Mali in western Africa.
“We have strong reason to believe that a British citizen Edwin Dyer has been murdered by an Al Qaeda cell in Mali,” Brown said in a statement Wednesday.

“I utterly condemn this appalling and barbaric act of terrorism,” he said.

Dyer was abducted with a group of European tourists after attending an African musical programme near Timbuktu.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) earlier claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Dyer, two Canadian diplomats and three other European tourists. The diplomats and two tourists were freed in April, while Dyer and a Swiss citizen have been in captivity.

The group threatened to kill Dyer unless the British government frees a senior Al Qaeda member, Jordanian preacher Abu Qatada, from a Britain prison.

AQIM said in a statement that Dyer was killed May 31 after a second deadline for Qatada’s release expired.

A Spanish judge named Abu Qatada as the point man for Al Qaeda in Europe. He has been held in Britain since 2005. Qatada, however, denies his involvement with the group.

Britain described him as a “significant international terrorist”, but said it does not have enough evidence to put him on trial.

Qatada is currently awaiting extradition to Jordan, where he faces a life-term for various terrorism offences.

Brown said the killing reinforced Britain’s “commitment to confront terrorism”.

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