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France

French hostages arrive in France after eight day ordeal

media The two ex-hostages Patrick Picque (center) and Laurent Lassimouillas (l) are welcomed at Villacoublay by Emmanuell Macron (center on the back) and army chief François Lecointre (r), 11 May 2019. ©FRANCOIS GUILLOT

French President Emmanuel Macron met with three hostages rescued from a Burkina Faso militant camp after they arrived in Paris. He spoke to them as they disembarked from a plane at Villacourblay, a military airport near Paris.

Frenchmen Laurent Lassimouillas and Patrick Picque and Kisoong Jang, a South Korean woman who was liberated together with the two French paid tribute to the two French special forces commandos, Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, who died liberating them.

An American woman who had been kidnapped was also liberated by the commandos, but is already on her way back to the United States.

Lassimouillas also expressed regret over the death of the Beninese park guide, who was killed when the French two tourists were snatched while on safari in northern Benin before being bundled across the border into Burkina Faso.

France has 4,500 troops deployed in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in a mission codenamed Barkhane to help local forces try to flush out jihadist groups.

Burkina Faso has suffered from frequent attacks attributed to several jihadist groups, including the Ansarul Islam group, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

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