ALGIERS (AFP) - The Algerian authorities said on Sunday they were checking press reports that one of their diplomats kidnapped in Mali had been executed by his Islamist captors . A statement attributed to the Movement of Oneness and Jihad in West Africa and posted on Internet sites in Algeria claimed that the diplomat, Tahar Touati, had been executed. “The execution of the diplomat came after the expiry of an ultimatum given to the Algerian government. Algerian negotiators refused to agree on a deal to release the hostages at the last minute,” said the statement. The statement “is currently the focus of the necessary verification to ensure its authenticity,” the Algerian foreign ministry said.