According to a leaked U.S. State Department cable made available Wikileaks, the Canadian government paid a ransom to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in exchange for the safe return of Canadians Robert Fowler and Louis Guay in 2008. The cable, which does not specify the amount of the ransom, details an exchange between a Libyan official and the U.S. ambassador in Tripoli. Musa Kasa, Libya’s then foreign minister, expressed concern that paying such a ransom is “unfortunate and only increased the strength of al Qaeda.” The Canadian government has maintained that there was no ransom paid and that the governments of Mali and Burkina Faso negotiated the diplomats’ release. Fowler and Guay were kidnapped while visiting a gold mine in Niger. Fowler was the UN’s special envoy to Niger at the time, and had played a leading role in ending the blood diamond trade in Angola.
Canada paid ransom for return of Robert Fowler
Wikileaks cable reveals al Qaeda was paid off by Ottawa
FILED UNDER: wikileaks