السبت , يونيو 6 2020

French hostage freed in Mali

File photo: French national Serge Lazarevic (centre) and Philippe Verdon (right) being held by AQIM at an undisclosed location in 2011Serge Lazarevic (centre) and Philippe Verdon (R) were kidnapped in 2011

A French hostage seized in Mali more than three years ago, Serge Lazarevic, has been released, French President Francois Hollande announced.

Mr Lazarevic was snatched in November 2011 along with fellow Frenchman Philippe Verdon.

Militants from the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group killed Mr Verdon last year in retaliation for France’s intervention in Mali.

Mr Hollande said there were no more French hostages waiting to be freed.

The president added that Mr Lazarevic was in “relatively good health” despite the conditions of his captivity.

AQIM kidnapped a number of Western hostages before the French military deployed its forces against the group in January 2013.

There were at one point at least 14 French nationals being held by Islamists in West Africa.

“There are no more French hostages in any country in the world,” Mr Hollande said.

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