Former US Ambassador Says France Indirectly Paid Islamist Militants

A former U.S. diplomat says France channeled millions of dollars in ransom payments to the Islamist militants it is now fighting in Mali.

Vicki Huddleston, the former U.S. ambassador to Mali, spoke in an interview which aired Friday on the French television station iTele.

Huddleston said France paid $17 million to secure the release of French citizens kidnapped by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb ((A.Q.I.M.) in northern Niger in 2010.

The former ambassador said the payments were made …