France: Sahel no longer safe after al Qaeda attack

France said on Sunday the African Sahel region was no longer safe for its citizens after suspected al Qaeda militants killed two Frenchmen in Niger.

The pair were found dead, apparently killed by their kidnappers on Saturday, after French special forces joined a failed attempt to rescue them in the African state.

“French nationals should be extremely vigilant and careful at all times,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website. “In view of the terrorism threat on the region, no area can be considered safe any longer.”

The Sahel includes Senegal, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Northern Nigeria.

The two victims were abducted from a bar, bringing to eight the number of French nationals snatched in Niger since last April. They were the first to be seized in the capital Niamey, far from the lawless desert where Islamist militants, rebels and bandits flourish.