OUAGADOUGOU/PARIS (Reuters) – Three hostages freed by French commandos from militants in Burkina Faso arrived in Paris on Saturday, expressing sorrow on the death of two French troopers within the rescue operation.
President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the hostages as they stepped off the French executive jet not up to 48 hours after French particular forces stormed their captors’ hideout in a daring night-time raid.
Two Frenchmen kidnapped while on safari in Benin more than per week earlier, as successfully as an American lady and a South Korean lady who had been being held with them, had been liberated within the excessive-possibility mission approved by Macron. The American, who has not been identified, was as soon as being repatriated individually.
“All our thoughts plod to the families of the troopers and to the troopers who misplaced their lives to free us from this hell,” Laurent Lassimouillas earlier suggested reporters as he met Burkinabe President Roch Kabore in Ouagadougou.
The French executive identified the 2 troopers killed as Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello.
Macron will lead a nationwide tribute to the boys, both officers within the naval particular forces, on the Les Invalides defense power scientific institution and mausoleum in Paris on Tuesday.
Lassimouillas moreover expressed feel sorry about over the death of the Beninese park manual, who was as soon as shot ineffective when the 2 vacationers had been kidnapped.
French officers stated on Friday it was as soon as not but particular who had kidnapped them in Benin nonetheless that their captors deliberate at hand them over to an al Qaeda affiliate in neighboring Mali.
Jihadist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic Direct comprise expanded their presence across West Africa’s Sahel plan, a strip of scrubland under the Sahara barren region, nowadays and taken a various of Western hostages.
France, the old colonial energy within the plan, intervened in Mali in 2013 to end an attain by Islamist militants and has kept about 4,500 troops within the Sahel since then.
“France’s message to terrorists is obvious: these that wish to attack France, the French, could well moreover gathered know that we’ll hunt them, we are in a position to discover them, and we are in a position to abolish them,” Defence Minister Florence Parly stated after joining Macron on the Villacoublay defense power airport delivery air Paris.
France was as soon as doing all it could perchance probably probably well well to stable the release of one more French hostage, Sophie Petronin, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated. Gunmen kidnapped Petronin in December 2016 within the northern Malian metropolis of Gao.
Reporting By Thiam Ndiaga in Ouagadougou, Aaron Ross in Dakar and Richard Lough in Paris; Editing by Stephen Powell