BAMAKO:- Militant group Ansar Dine said Thursday it was holding three Red Cross workers captured in northeastern Mali last weekend and called for the release of a jihadist arrested by French troops for their safe return. “We have three people who work for the Red Cross. We want Barkhane (French forces) to free Miyatene Ag Mayaris before we will release them,” Nourredine Ag Mohamed, a senior militant in the group, told AFP. An ICRC spokesman in Bamako had previously confirmed three of its staff were being held by an unknown group that had intercepted them on April 16, while a fourth had been released.–AFP

Ansar Dine is one of several active jihadist groups roaming Mali’s north, and picked up the workers in the restive region of Kidal, where the Red Cross said they were carrying out field work.