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Kidnappings concern Canada, UN: official

world Updated: Feb 25, 2009 10:01 IST

AFP
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Kidnappings of government officials, businessmen, tourists and journalists have become a "disturbing and growing trend" that concerns Canada and the United Nations, an official said.

Two Canadians disappeared in Niger in mid-December and are being held by an Algerian leader of Al-Qaeda's North African branch, according to a Malian source.

On Monday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to discuss the two missing diplomats UN special envoy to Niger Robert Fowler and his colleague Louis Guay.

Harper and Ban Ki-Moon "shared grave concerns about the recent kidnappings of UN officials, as well as officials of national governments, journalists, tourists and business people traveling abroad," a senior Harper aide said.

"It's a growing trend, a disturbing trend and of increasing concern to our government and governments around the world."

And it is a situation that "no one country can address in isolation."

The official would not comment specifically on the Fowler-Guay case to "minimize risk to the victims."

But Ban Ki-Moon said after his meeting with Harper on Monday that they discussed how to expedite the release of the two men.

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