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By Cheick Dioura and Jean-Baptiste Vey GAO/PARIS (Reuters) - French troops in Mali on Thursday freed five local aid workers kidnapped in February, the French and Malian governments said, killing about a dozen of their captors in the process. Land and air forces were deployed in the rescue mission, which targeted the kidnappers' two pick-up trucks in the remote desert region north of Timbuktu, a spokesman at Central Command of French Armed Forces, Colonel Pascal Georgin said. Two of the aid workers were hit by bullets during the operation and were receiving medical care for minor injuries at a Gao military hospital, according to a Malian employee for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Four of the aid workers belonged to the organisation and the employee named them as Filipe Diarra, Ousmane El Ansary, Youssouf Ag Rissa and Amikal Ag Handaka.
By Gopal Sharma KATHMANDU (Reuters) - An avalanche swept down a slope of Mount Everest on Friday killing 12 Nepali mountaineering guides at the beginning of the main climbing season, a Tourism Ministry official said. The avalanche, the deadliest in eight years, hit the most popular route to the mountain's peak. Three Nepali guides were injured and up to five people were missing, said Dipendra Paudel at the Tourism Ministry's mountaineering department. It was the first major avalanche on Mount Everest this climbing season, when hundreds of foreign and Nepali climbers flock to the mountain to attempt to reach its 8,850 meter (29,035 feet) peak.