Several humanitarian organizations including French group Action contre la faim (ACF) have pulled their expat employees from northern Mali for security reasons, sources said Nov. 18. "We just learned that some expats have narrowly escaped an attempted kidnapping by armed Islamic militants in one of Mali's neighbours. Therefore we are taking security measures and are pulling back to the south of Mali," a source close to the ACF bureau in Gao, northern Mali, told AFP. "Several European employees who are in Gao have been called back to Bamako as a security precaution," Amadou Senou, a regional official confirmed. The Gao region some thousand kilometers (600 miles) to the north east of Bamako in the Sahel region which has been the scene of trafficking and smuggling of all kinds by organized crime groups. Tuareg rebels and Islamic militants – who claim to belong to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) – roam freely between Mali and its neighboring countries. (AFP)

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