Body of French hostage victim found
The body has been found in Mali of French geologist Philippe Verdon, who was taken hostage in November 2011, Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported today.
French President Francois Hollande said in his Bastille Day speech on Sunday it was possible Verdon died several weeks ago but his death was not officially confirmed.
Citing a source close to the matter, RFI said DNA checks showed that the body found in the north of Mali was that of Verdon and it would be repatriated to France in a few days.
France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed a body had been found but it was still conducting checks to verify its identity.
Al Qaeda's arm in the Islamic Maghreb said in March it had beheaded Verdon in response to France's military intervention in Mali.
Hollande justified the intervention partly by saying it would prevent northern Mali being used as a launchpad for Islamist attacks in Africa and in the West.