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French aid worker released in Central African Republic

media Bangui archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, a key player in the release of Claudia Priest. RFI/Sébastien Bonijol

French aid worker Claudia Priest has been released after being kidnapped on Monday in the Central African Republic, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Friday.

"Our compatriot Claudia Priest, who was kidnapped at the start of the week in the Central African Republic, is finally free,” said Fabius in a statement. “It's an immense relief for all those who have worked towards this happy outcome.” 

Priest, 67, had been working for the Catholic medical organization CODIS when anti-Balaka fighters kidnapped her and local co-worker on Monday in the capital Bangui.

Fabius did not provide more details about her release, but thanked CAR officials and Bangui archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga for their assistance.

A United Nations employee was also briefly detained and released in Bangui on Tuesday.

French President François Hollande welcomed her release and reiterated France's support for the CAR’s transitional government of President Catherine Samba-Panza.

"[The president] renews his support for the transitional president, Mrs Samba-Panza, and her government in its efforts to strengthen security and pursue a path of reconciliation in the CAR," said a statement from Hollande’s office.

Priest is reported to be in healthy condition and is expected to return to France on Sunday.


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