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France calls for "immediate" release of Mali hostages

French President Francois Hollande on Monday demanded the release of top civil servants and others taken hostage in Mali's north after deadly clashes between separatists and the army.

PARIS: French President Francois Hollande on Monday demanded the release of top civil servants and others taken hostage in Mali's north after deadly clashes between separatists and the army.

Hollande called for the "immediate and unconditional release of Kidal's administrator and the hostages," during telephone talks with his Malian counterpart Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a statement said, referring to the northern town where Saturday's clashes took place.

Hollande called "for light to be shed on the murders and the unacceptable violence committed during the visit of the Malian prime minister to Kidal."

The fighting during Prime Minister Moussa Mara's visit to the desert town claimed the lives of eight soldiers and 28 insurgents.

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