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2 French journalists killed in Mali

| Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 7:24 p.m.

DAKAR, Senegal — Gunmen abducted and killed two French radio journalists on assignment in northern Mali on Saturday, French and Malian officials said, grabbing the pair as they left the home of a rebel leader.

French President Francois Hollande expressed his “indignation at this odious act.”

Claude Verlon, 58, and Ghislaine Dupont, 51, were grabbed by several armed men in a truck, officials said.

It was not clear who killed the Radio France Internationale journalists. France began a military intervention in January in its former colony to try to oust jihadists from power in Kidal and other towns across northern Mali. Separatist rebels have since returned to the area.

The journalists' bodies were dumped a dozen miles outside the town on the road leading to Tinessako, a community to the east of Kidal, according to officials and a person who saw the corpses.

The radio station RFI confirmed the kidnappings on its website, describing the pair as professionals with experience in challenging areas.

Dupont was “passionate about her job and the African continent that she covered since joining RFI in 1986,” the website said. Verlon was “used to difficult terrain throughout the world.”

Staff members at RFI “are all in shock, profoundly saddened, indignant and angry,” it said.

France opened a judicial investigation into the kidnappings and deaths “linked to a terrorist enterprise,” the prosecutor's office said.

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