Somali group issues video of French hostage
DUBAI (Reuters) - An Islamist group in Somalia has issued a video of a French hostage held in the Horn of Africa country, showing him asking France to meet his captors' demands.
The video appeared on a website often used by Islamist militant groups around the world, which said the hostage, named as Denis Allex, had issued a "message to the French people."
A copy of the video issued by U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant internet traffic, shows the captive in an orange outfit with armed men standing behind him while he reads a statement in French.
Two French security advisers were kidnapped by the Shabaab rebel group in Somalia last year but one, Marc Aubriere, escaped a month later.
The Islamist group issued a statement of demands in September, which included an immediate end to French support for the Somali government and the withdrawal of African Union peacekeepers.
In the video, Allex repeats those demands and says the group will issue a list of names of prisoners it wants released. He says the defeat of President Nicolas Sarkozy's party in recent French regional elections showed France opposes his policies.
"We ask the French people to do everything for my liberation," he says, noting that other hostages have been released in Somalia, Sudan and Algeria.
"You can imagine my state of mind ... I miss my family a lot and hope to see them as soon as possible," he says, adding he has not been mistreated.
The message contains no threat against his life.
"The Shabaab movement made its demands to the government without any response and it is me who is paying the price by remaining in their hands as a hostage for a long time," he said.
"Even though they have not and they are not physically abusing me, it is severely affecting my mental and psychological health."