On Monday, May 30, Areva, the nuclear powerhouse, was indicted for "unintentional injury" in an investigation in Paris into the kidnapping in 2010 of five Frenchmen close to the Arlit uranium mine in Niger. The organization claimed Areva was involved in the case. According to a source who is familiar with the matter, Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb was indicted for "unintentional injuries" in the Paris investigation into the kidnapping of five Frenchmen near the Arlit uranium site in Niger. French investigators accuse Areva (now Orano) of underestimating the threat of attacks by AQMI on the Arlit uranium extractor site in northern Niger. They also claim that Areva and its subsidiaries did not have the necessary security measures in place for its employees and subcontractors.
This judicial investigation is open to the antiterrorism unit since 2013. The magistrate in charge of it believes Areva ignored warnings about the weaknesses of the protection system. Maitre Marion Lambert Barret, the lawyer for the group, said that Areva is not willing to comment on its charges.
Five Frenchmen - Francoise & Daniel Larribe and Pierre Legrand, Marc Feret, Thierry Dol - were abducted from the mine site on the night of September 15, 16 2010. Armed men. Francoise Larribe was released after five months in captivity. She was sick and had been with the Malagasy-Togolese employees. On October 29, 2013, the four other hostages were released.
The legal director of the group confirmed to investigators that Areva and Vinci, a French construction company, had paid a ransom for Areva's release of the first three hostages. Vinci then demanded 30 million euros for each of the four men. According to this source, the group denied any failure in risk management and stated that employees were protected as a priority.
Areva was responsible for the safety of the expatriates at Arlit, one the Niger nuclear giant's mining sites, and its subsidiaries. However, each entity had safety obligations to its staff, provided that the legal director was defended. Investigations revealed that the site was not adequately protected, which meant that around 100 people lived there at the time. Areva felt that the system was well-designed, but it was not properly implemented, which justified the appointment of a legal director.
According to the judges, security negligence is not the only problem. Kidnappings of Westerners have increased since 2009 as well as threats to French interests. "Despite numerous warnings being brought to Areva’s attention, nothing serious has been implemented," said Maitre Olivier Morice (lawyer for Pierre Legrand, one of the hostages).