French ex-hostages land in Paris after the ‘test of a lifetime’

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Four Frenchmen kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants in Niger landed in France on Wednesday, after more than three years in captivity, reported Agence France Presse.

The hostages were met by their families and President Francois Hollande at a military airport outside Paris.

“It was very difficult but it was the test of a lifetime,” said former hostage Thierry Dol, 32, in a brief remark to AFP at the airport in Niamey before heading to Paris.

Pierre Legrand, Daniel Larribe, Dol and Marc Feret were kidnapped in September 2010 while working for French nuclear group Areva and a subsidiary of construction group Vinci in Arlit in Niger.

The French nationals were kidnapped by al-Qaeda’s North African wing and were released after the militant group participated in secret talks with officials from the West African country.

There was no news about the fate of three other men - a Swede, Dutch and South African - who were also kidnapped by the militant group. Two other French nationals are also still being held after being taken by armed groups in Mali, reported Reuters.

(With Reuters and AFP)

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