A word of warning for Western businessmen, journalists, scientists and to other people from a whole range of other professions, even to the lonely backpacker, except for visiting Israel, stay out of the Middle East and the Levant.

I don’t want my tax money going to pay off members of the pajamas and slippers club who have taken you hostage, nor do I enjoy seeing these murderous Wee Willie Winkies exchanged for your stupidity. Just stay out of the M.E. & Levant altogether, especially if you or your company can’t afford armed guards.

Al-Qaeda fighters freed for French hostage: Mali

Al-Qaeda fighters freed for French hostage: Mali

Al-Qaeda militants were exchanged for the release of Serge Lazarevic (left). Photo: AFP

Published: 12 Dec 2014 17:09 GMT+01:00

Mali admitted Friday that prisoners had been freed in exchange for the release of French hostage Serge Lazarevic, confirming information given to AFP earlier this week by a security source in the west African country.

“It’s a fact, everyone knows, there is no need to deny reality,” Justice Minister Mohamed Ali Bathily told France 24 television in response to a question on the issue, three days after Lazarevic, who was kidnapped by Islamist militants in Mali in 2011, was freed.

The 51-year-old was snatched while on a business trip with fellow Frenchman Philippe Verdon in a kidnapping claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

More here.

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