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KIDNAPPING

Kidnapped Swiss man beaten in France

Basel police are collaborating with French authorities in a bid to track down three men who abducted, beat up and robbed a 33-year-old Swiss man.

He was hospitalized in Alsace, France for treatment of injuries after being attacked by the men on Monday morning, city police said.

The victim told police he encountered a man in the Rhylounge restaurant in Basel earlier that day whom he later recognized behind the wheel of a car parked on a street in the Kleinbasel part of the city, on the right bank of the River Rhine.

The motorist asked the victim for information on how to get to France.

The Swiss man gave directions before the driver offered to give him a lift to the train station.

When the victim got in the car he was hit on the head from behind and lost consciousness, police said.

He regained consciousness at an undisclosed location in the Alsace region, where he was “abused” on a dirt road by the driver and two other men before being robbed.

The culprits fled in an unknown direction, police said.

The victim was later found by passers-by and taken by ambulance to hospital.

He told police his attackers were North Africans who spoke French and Arabic.

The men, he said, were driving a blue or green Peugeot 206 or 306 with French licence plates and tinted rear windows.

The victim told police the driver of the car was 30 to 35 years old, about 175 centimetres tall, of medium build, athletic looking and weighing around 80 kilograms.

Casually dressed in jeans, sneakers, tee-shirt and jacket, he had a “well-groomed appearance” with short black hair and brown eyes.

The victim was unable to provide a description of the other two men.

Basel police said further investigations are being carried out in cooperation with French authorities.

Anyone with possible information about the crime is asked to contact Basel police on 061 267 71 11.

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KIDNAPPING

Extremists abduct Swiss woman in north Mali

Gunmen abducted a Swiss woman overnight Thursday to Friday in Timbuktu in northern Mali, where she had lived for several years and was previously held by extremists, official sources say.

Extremists abduct Swiss woman in north Mali
French and Mali soldiers patrol outside mosque in Timbuktu earlier last year. Photo: Philippe Desmayes/AFP

“Beatrice, a Swiss citizen, was kidnapped in her home in Timbuktu by gunmen,” a Timbuktu government official told AFP.
   
A Malian security source said armed men had gone to her home on Thursday night, “knocked on the door, she opened, and they left with her.”
   
Beatrice Stockly was kidnapped a first time in April 2012 by Islamist fighters but released thanks to mediation efforts by Burkina Faso authorities.
   
Two foreign hostages seized the previous year in 2011 by members of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a South African and a Swede, are still in captivity.
   
Jihadist fighters including AQIM members seized control of Mali's vast remote north in March-April 2012 but were chased out the following year by a French-led military intervention.
   
A regional French counterterrorism force is still conducting operations in the area.
   
Entire swathes of the north remain beyond the reach of both the Malian army and foreign troops, however.

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