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Four months later the Briton was killed by al Qaeda’s North African wing, which had been demanding the release of Abu Qatada, a Jordanian Islamist being held in Britain.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said Dyer’s death was “a tiny portion of what innocent Muslims taste every day at the hands of the Crusader and Jewish coalition”.
Although Dyer was killed on May 31, news of his death was not released until June 3, a day before President Barack Obama gave a speech in Cairo intended to mend fences with the Muslim world.
Before Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president in 2007, he made clear he wanted to break with France’s old way of doing business in Africa – a cosy blend of post-colonial corruption and patronage known as “Françafrique” that suited a fair few African dictators and the French establishment alike.
“The old pattern of relations between France and Africa is no longer understood by new generations of Africans, or for that matter by public opinion in France. We need to change the pattern of relations between France and Africa if we want to look at the future together,” Sarkozy said in South Africa early last year.