French govt says Somalia raid not linked to Mali operation

PARIS Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:21am EST

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PARIS Jan 12 (Reuters) - An operation by French armed forces to rescue a hostage being held in Somalia was not linked to France's military intervention in Mali to help quash a push south by Islamist rebels, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Saturday.

"The two operations are totally unconnected," Le Drian told a news conference.

France had been concerned that other hostages held in Africa would be at risk if they intervened against al Qaeda-linked fighters in Mali.

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