Incident Summary:

01/22/2009: On Thursday, unknown gunmen have abducted four foreign nationals from an unknown location in Mali. According to reports, the group was returning from a culture festival in northern Mali when their convoy was ambushed and their vehicle was cut off from the others in the group. A Swiss couple, a German, and a British national occupied the vehicle. Authorities believe the attack to be the work of Tuareg rebels, operating in the area.




Sub-Saharan Africa

region/u.s. state:



Location Details:
Attack occurred at an unknown location in the Saharan region of Mali, near the border with Niger.

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Kidnapping)
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Tourists
Name of Entity
Specific Description The target was a Swiss couple.
Nationality of Target Switzerland
Target Type: Tourists
Name of Entity
Specific Description A British tourist was targeted.
Nationality of Target Great Britain
Target Type: Tourists
Name of Entity
Specific Description A German tourist was targeted.
Nationality of Target Germany
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 4
US Hostages 0
Outcome Combination
Ransom No
Property Damage Unknown
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Weapon Details
It is unknown if weapons were used in the attack.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information Two of the hostages were released in April 2009. Another hostage was killed on June 3, 2009. The fate of the remaining hostage is unknown.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Group Sub-name Claimed Responsibility
23 May Democratic Alliance (Algeria) (suspected) Tuareg rebels No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 1 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 1
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
United Press International, "No Trace of Tourists Kidnapped in Mali," (January 26, 2009).
Agence France Presse, "Qaeda Link Seen in Europeans' Kidnapping: Mali Official," Agence France Presse, January 28, 2009.
National Counterterrorism Center, "One Civilian Wounded in Assault, Four Others Kidnapped in Hijacking and Armed Attack by AQIM in Niger," Worldwide Incidents Tracking System, December 2, 2009.