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Two French journalists kidnapped and killed in northern Mali

Two French journalists were found killed just hours after being kidnapped by gunmen in northern Mali on Saturday, according to the French Foreign Ministry.

Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, who were correspondents for the radio Station RFI, were taken at approximately 1 p.m. in the town of Kidal after an interview with Ambéry Ag Rissa, a local official with the separatist group MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of of Azawad). RFI confirmed both the kidnappings and the deaths on their web site.  

"When they left, I heard a strange noise outside. I immediately went out to see and when I opened my door, a turbaned man pointed a gun at me and told me go back inside," Rissa told Reuters by telephone.

According to a statement, the ministry said that French intelligence and Malian authorities "are putting everything in place so that light can be shed as quickly as possible on the circumstances of their deaths."

The killings come just days after four French hostages Thierry Dol, Daniel Larribe, Pierre Legrand and Marc Féret were released after three years of captivity in neighboring Niger.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.