- Mauritania has recalled its ambassador to Mali in protest of the recent release of rebels from the Al Qaeda cell.
Nouakchott has said the release of the fighters has violated security pacts between the countries.
Mali freed the men from the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had demanded the release of the four in exchange for French hostage Pierre Camatte, extending a previous deadline to February 20 and threatening to kill him if their demands were not met.
According to reports, Al-Qaeda in North Africa rebels, reportedly abducted a Frenchman from his hotel in Menaka, near Mali's border with Niger, on 25 November and have been piling pressure on Mali to release the men.
The release of the prisoners has prompted anger in Nouakchott, where the foreign ministry said the move was surprising given that one of those released is wanted in Mauritania.
"Mauritania, while expressing its condemnation and rejection of this measure, has decided to recall its ambassador to Bamako for consultation," Mauritania's foreign ministry said in a statement.
It is reported that the abducted Frenchman is being held in the northern Mali desert, along with three Spanish hostages and an Italian couple. The other hostages were kidnapped in the neighbouring Mauritania last November.
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