Al-Qa'eda says it has executed British hostage Edwin Dyer, because the British government would not free the Muslim cleric Abu Qatada.
Al Qa'eda executes British hostage
Al Qa'eda said it has executed British hostage Edwin Dyer in Mali, blaming Britain for failing to release a radical Muslim cleric in exchange, the SITE Intelligence Group said today. Al Qa'eda in Islamic Maghreb "killed Dyer on May 31, finding that Britain is unresponsive and does not seem to care for its citizens", the US-based monitoring group quoted an online statement as saying. British prime minister Gordon Brown swiftly condemned the "barbaric act" vowing to adhere to a commitment to "confront terrorism." "We have strong reason to believe that a British citizen, Edwin Dyer, has been murdered by an al Qa'eda cell in Mali. I utterly condemn this appalling and barbaric act of terrorism," he said in a statement. "This tragedy reinforces our commitment to confront terrorism. It strengthens our determination never to concede to the demands of terrorists, nor to pay ransoms." Mr Brown warned that those who acted in such a way against British citizens would be pursued "relentlessly" and "will meet the justice they deserve." "I have regularly discussed this case with the president of Mali. He knows that he will have every support in rooting out Al-Qaeda from his country," Mr Brown added. He also pledged "every possible support" for Mr Dyer's family. SITE said Mr Dyer was kidnapped in Niger on January 22, but was believed to have been held in Mali. On May 21, al Qa'eda extended a deadline on its threat to kill Mr Dyer, giving Britain more time to respond to its demand to release Muslim cleric Abu Qatada, once regarded as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe. "In this process the British state tasted a very small part of what innocent Muslims taste every day at the hands of the crusader and Jewish coalition in the east and west of the world," SITE quoted the Islamic extremist group as saying. The statement did not say how Mr Dyer was executed. On April 26, al Qa'eda had given the British government 20 days to release the Jordanian cleric from prison. A day earlier, Malian president Amadou Toumani Toure was reported as saying his country was doing all it could to free two remaining hostages of six kidnapped by Islamic extremists in the Sahel region in December and January. Two Canadian diplomats and two European women tourists were released in April and flown to the Malian capital Bamako, but Mr Dyer and a Swiss hostage Werner Greiner were not freed. The remote Sahel region borders half-a-dozen countries and illegal activities are rampant there. Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmud Mohammed Othman, is fighting a deportation order to Jordan, saying he risks being tortured in his home country. He has had political asylum in Britain since 1993 and is wanted in Jordan for funding a militant network known as Reform and Challenge (Al-Islah Wal Tahhadi), which was dismantled in 1999. * AFP