DAKAR, Senegal - Al-Qaeda's north African branch has released a video purporting to show seven kidnapped Westerners, the Mauritanian news agency ANI reported, footage France's foreign ministry deemed "credible".
The hostages are four Frenchmen kidnapped from a uranium compound in northern Niger exactly three years ago along with a Dutchman, a Swede and a South African who were abducted from Timbuktu in northern Mali in November 2011.
"Based on an initial analysis, the video seems credible to us and provides new proof of life of the four French hostages kidnapped in Arlit (northern Niger) on September 16, 2010," foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said on Monday, adding that the eight minutes and 42 seconds of footage were being authenticated.
In the video, released to the Mauritanian news agency ANI, Frenchman Daniel Larribe introduces himself as the head of the French group and says he was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
ANI reported on its website that he was speaking on June 27 and said he was in good health.
There was nothing to show whether the seven hostages were filmed at the same location.
The video includes statements from Arribe's compatriots Pierre Legrand, Thierry Dol and Marc Feret as well as South African Stephen Malcolm, Dutchman Sjaak Rijke and Swede Johan Gustafsson.
"Of course we react positively every time we see that they are alive and in relatively good health," said Legrand's grandfather Rene Robert.
AQIM is currently thought to be holding eight Europeans hostage, including five French nationals.