1. Russia

Voice of America – English: Malian Politician Released by Islamist Insurgents Meets with Mali’s Transitional President

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Former Malian presidential candidate Soumaila Cisse met the country’s transitional president Thursday night for the first time since his release this week by Islamist insurgents in a prisoner swap.

Cisse, who had been kidnapped six months ago, did not reveal the nature of his talks with Bah N’Daw and other dignitaries at Mali’s presidential palace, in the capital Bamako.

Cisse only spoke of his captivity, saying he was mostly in isolation living under difficult conditions, but that he was not the victim of any physical or verbal abuse.

Cisse and three European hostages were freed by Islamic extremists in northern Mali just days after the Malian government released nearly 200 militants despite concerns their release might further destabilize the country.

Voice of America – English