This combination of undated photos provided by Radio France International shows journalists Ghislaine Dupont, left, and Claude Verlon. French and Malian officials said gunmen in Kidal, northern Mali abducted and killed the two French radio journalists on assignment Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, grabbing the pair as they left the home of a rebel leader. / AP PHOTO/RFI
(CNN) -- French journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon have been found dead in northern Mali, the French Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
The two Radio France International journalists had been kidnapped Saturday morning, a local governor said, according to RFI sister network France Info.
French President Francois Hollande condemned the killings, calling them "despicable," according to a statement released by the presidential palace.
The kidnapping occurred outside the Kidal region in the northern part of the African nation.
Verlon and Dupont "were abducted by four men aboard a Toyota in Kidal-Ville," Kidal Gov. Adama Kamissoko said while in Bamako, according to France Info.
The kidnapping and deaths come the same week that four long-held French hostages were released. They had been abducted by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in neighboring Niger and had been held since 2010.
Earlier this year, as part of France's intervention to flush out Islamist militants in Mali, the French military secured the area around Kidal, the last major town that was under rebel control in northern Mali.