Hollande: French hostage held by al Qaeda in Mali is freed fibrinate

Author : gliffy1937
Publish Date : 2021-04-18 16:05:06


Hollande: French hostage held by al Qaeda in Mali is freed fibrinate

Lazarevic was captured on November 24, 2011, in Hombori in central Mali and subsequently held in the Sahel.

His release means that there are no longer any French hostages held anywhere in the world, Hollande said in remarks broadcast by CNN's French affiliate BFMTV.

Lazarevic will travel to Niamey in Niger before heading on to France, Hollande said in a statement issued by his office.



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'He is relatively healthy, despite the very harsh conditions of his long captivity. He will be quickly repatriated to France,' the President said.

No details have yet been given of how Lazarevic's freedom was secured, but Hollande said discussions had been under way for months, with the involvement of authorities in Niger and Mali.

Hollande thanked them for their help and said he shared in the joy of Lazarevic's family at the news of his release.

He also saluted the memory of Lazarevic's fellow captive Philippe Verdon, who was abducted with him but slain by his captors several months ago.

Prisoner swap speculation

Lazarevic's release, which comes only days after a failed U.S. military raid in Yemen ended with the deaths of two hostages held by al Qaeda, has prompted wide French media speculation that a prisoner swap was involved.

The French consistently deny that they pay ransoms in hostage takings, but they have been remarkably successful at freeing hostages by nonmilitary means.

Lawmaker Alain Marsaud, of the opposition UMP party, told BFMTV that he had no doubt that a ransom had been paid for Lazarevic through the freeing of prisoners held in Mali or Niger.

'There's not one French person who believes for one instant that Mr. Lazarevic has been freed just to please Mr. Hollande,' he said.

Marsaud, a former anti-terrorism judge, said he preferred the French position to the American approach, which ends with hostages being assassinated.

Lawmaker: We don't abandon hostages

Lawmaker Bruno Le Roux, leader of the governing Socialist Party's majority in the French National Assembly, was asked on BFMTV whether France had paid a ransom.

He replied, 'I ... it is not the strategy of the French state to pay a ransom. But our strategy is to never abandon our hostages, and so to ensure that links with the local authorities are established, with all those who can help us in freeing them.'

It's not the first time this year that France has welcomed home freed hostages. Four French journalists -- Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres, Didier Francois and Edouard Elias -- were released in Syria in April, after being held for months by Islamist militants.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius insisted that France had not paid a ransom, Radio France Internationale reported at the time.

Hollande thanked them for their help and said he shared in the joy of Lazarevic's family at the news of his release. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius insisted that France had not paid a ransom, Radio France Internationale reported at the time. Lazarevic's release, which comes only days after a failed U.S. military raid in Yemen ended with the deaths of two hostages held by al Qaeda, has prompted wide French media speculation that a prisoner swap was involved. The French consistently deny that they pay ransoms in hostage takings, but they have been remarkably successful at freeing hostages by nonmilitary means. It's not the first time this year that France has welcomed home freed hostages. Four French journalists -- Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres, Didier Francois and Edouard Elias -- were released in Syria in April, after being held for months by Islamist militants. Lazarevic will travel to Niamey in Niger before heading on to France, Hollande said in a statement issued by his office. 'He is relatively healthy, despite the very harsh conditions of his long captivity. He will be quickly repatriated to France,' the President said. No details have yet been given of how Lazarevic's freedom was secured, but Hollande said discussions had been under way for months, with the involvement of authorities in Niger and Mali. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius insisted that France had not paid a ransom, Radio France Internationale reported at the time. It's not the first time this year that France has welcomed home freed hostages. Four French journalists -- Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres, Didier Francois and Edouard Elias -- were released in Syria in April, after being held for months by Islamist militants. It's not the first time this year that France has welcomed home freed hostages. Four French journalists -- Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres, Didier Francois and Edouard Elias -- were released in Syria in April, after being held for months by Islamist militants. Prisoner swap speculation Lawmaker Alain Marsaud, of the opposition UMP party, told BFMTV that he had no doubt that a ransom had been paid for Lazarevic through the freeing of prisoners held in Mali or Niger. Lazarevic was captured on November 24, 2011, in Hombori in central Mali and subsequently held in the Sahel. Lazarevic's release, which comes only days after a failed U.S. military raid in Yemen ended with the deaths of two hostages held by al Qaeda, has prompted wide French media speculation that a prisoner swap was involved. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius insisted that France had not paid a ransom, Radio France Internationale reported at the time. Lawmaker Bruno Le Roux, leader of the governing Socialist Party's majority in the French National Assembly, was asked on BFMTV whether France had paid a ransom.

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