France: Mali hostage was shot to death

PARIS (AP) — The Paris prosecutor’s office says an autopsy shows that a French hostage found dead in Mali was killed by a shot to the head.

Frenchman Philippe Verdon was kidnapped in 2011 with an associate. Earlier this year, al-Qaida’s North Africa arm claimed responsibility for his death. But Verdon had been known to be in ill health, and some had speculated that his death was related to pre-existing conditions.

Verdon’s body was found in early July near the northern Mali town of Tessalit, and brought back to France this week. The Paris prosecutor’s office announced the autopsy results Thursday.

Several other French citizens remain hostages in the region, where French troops intervened this year against al-Qaida-linked extremists who had taken over northern Mali.

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