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Two French journalists abducted, killed in northern Mali

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Two French radio journalists were killed by gunmen in northern Mali on Saturday shortly after being abducted in the town of Kidal, French and Malian officials said - Reuters reports.

The French government confirmed that 58-year old Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont, 51, both journalists at RFI radio, had been found dead.

"The French president ... expresses his indignation over this heinous act," Francois Hollande's office said in a statement.

Kidal is the birthplace of a Tuareg uprising last year that plunged Mali into chaos, leading to a coup in the capital Bamako and the occupation of the northern half of the country by militants linked to al Qaeda.

A French-led military intervention drove out the militants but there are still pockets of insurgents and the incident dramatically highlighted the continuing security risks.

France still has about 3,000 soldiers in the country, alongside Malian troops and U.N. peacekeepers (MINUSMA), although it only has about 200 troops in Kidal and another 100 in Tessalit, several hundred kilometers away in the northwest.

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