File photo - Islamist Mujao fighters.

Nouakchott - Islamic extremists said Sunday they have executed an Algerian diplomat who was kidnapped during their takeover of northern Mali, according to a statement published by a Mauritanian news agency.

Taher Touati, the Algerian vice-consul “was executed this morning (Saturday) at dawn” said the statement from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) published by online news agency ANI.

The agency often carries reliable information on extremist groups in the region.

“The Algerian government must take complete responsibility for the consequences of its stubborness and the misguided and irresponsible decisions of its president and its generals,” read the statement.

MUJAO had on August 24 given an ultimatum to Algeria, threatening to kill the hostage after Algiers rejected its demands for the release of Islamist prisoners in a hostage swap.

MUJAO, one of several Al Qaeda-linked groups which have been in control of the north for five months, claimed the April 5

kidnapping of seven Algerian diplomats from a consulate in the town of Gao.

Three of the hostages were freed in July. - Sapa-AFP