Here are details of attacks on foreigners and those held by kidnappers around Africa.
-- Two Germans, one Austrian, and two Hungarians were killed by gunmen in northern Ethiopia's remote Afar region on January 17. One Hungarian was also wounded. Ethiopia said the victims were part of a 27-member party that also included U.S., Australian and Belgian nationals.
-- Two foreign tourists and two Ethiopians were kidnapped in the same attack. A German media report said the group had been close to the Erta Ale volcano, one of Ethiopia's most active - an area prone to banditry.
-- An Ethiopian government spokesman said the attackers were Eritrean-trained but Eritrea rejected the accusation.
November 23, 2011 - Two French men, an engineer and a technician who work for a local cement firm, were abducted from their hotel in the town of Hombori, about 200 km (125 miles) west of the northern city of Gao in northern Mali.
November 25, 2011 - Gunmen seized three people and killed a fourth person as the group walked along a street in the northern Mali town of Timbuktu. The three kidnapped were from South Africa, the Netherlands and Sweden.
-- Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the two Frenchmen and the three other Westerners.
April 2008 - Gunmen seized a Briton and a Kenyan working on a U.N.-funded project.
July 14, 2009 - Somali gunmen kidnapped two French security advisers in Mogadishu. One of them, Marc Aubriere, escaped on August 26.
November 8, 2010 - The European Union anti-piracy task force said it had rescued a South African yachtsman after he was left behind by Somali pirates. Two other South African crew members were taken ashore as hostages.
October 25, 2011 - Three aid workers attached to the Danish Demining Group were kidnapped in the north of the country, the group said. One was a Somali man, two were international staff members: American Jessica Buchanan and a Dane, Poul Thisted.
September 11, 2011 - Gunmen raided the Kiwayu Safari Village, shooting dead British publishing executive David Tebbutt, and taking his wife Judith hostage, before escaping by boat and taking her to Somalia.
October 11, 2011 - Six armed men stormed a house on the island of Manda on Kenya's northern coast, grabbed 66-year-old wheelchair-bound Marie Dedieu and carried her to a boat that took her to Somalia. Paris said on October 19 that Dedieu had died.
October 13, 2011 - Two Spanish female aid workers employed by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) were kidnapped at Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp near Somalia. The two were later named as Blanca Thiebaut from Madrid, and Montserrat Serra. They have since been moved to central Somalia.
February 2, 2011 - A 53-year-old Italian woman, Maria Sandra Mariani, was kidnapped by al Qaeda insurgents while on a tourist trip to the Sahara desert.
October 23, 2011 - Three foreign workers, two Spanish and one Italian, were abducted from a refugee camp near Tindouf in western Algeria. The kidnappers had crossed from Mali.
-- Spain named the two as Ainhoa Fernandez de Rincon, a member of a pro-Sahrawi organisation, and Enric Gonyalons who was working with the Basque non-profit group Mundubat. The Italian was Rossella Urru from the Rome-based group Comitato Italiano Sviluppo dei Popoli.
May 12, 2011 - Two engineers, a Briton and an Italian, working for Italian construction firm B. Stabilini in Kebbi State in northern Nigeria were kidnapped in the town of Birnin-Kebbi.
September 16, 2010 - Seven foreigners were kidnapped in Arlit, in Niger's northern uranium mining zone. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility and demanded a 90 million euro ($130 million) ransom.
-- The foreigners, including five French nationals, were employees of French firms Areva and Vinci and were taken by their captors to Mali on September 17, 2010.
February 25, 2011 - A Togolese, a Malagasy man and the French wife of an Areva employee were freed and handed over to authorities in Niger.
(Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by David Stamp)