Hollande ramps up France security over Mali and Somalia

  • French President Francois Hollande ramped domestic security on Saturday in the aftermath of military operations in Africa.

    The move comes in response to the risk of Islamist attack after French forces intervened against militants in the west African nation Mali.

    One pilot was killed as France launched air strikes on rebels.

    In addition, two French soldiers were "sacrificed" in a raid in a bid to free a French hostage in Somalia earlier in the day. The operation failed "despite the sacrifice of two of our soldiers and without doubt the assassination of our hostage", Hollande said.

    Ansar Dine, one of the Islamist groups targeted by French forces in the state of Mali, threatened reprisal attacks against France.

    France's anti-terrorism alert system known as "Vigipirate" has since been raised to beef up security at public buildings and transport networks.

    According to government officials, the operations in Mali and Somalia were launched within hours of each other but were "unconnected".

    On Friday, French troops were deployed in Mali after the army lost control of a strategically important town to Islamist rebels who were moving further south.

    French commandos later went into action in the Somalian town of Bulo Marer as they attempted to free Denis Allex, who was kidnapped in July 2009.