After Three Years in Captivity, French Hostages Are Released

Four French citizens released from their al-Qaeda captors

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This Monday Sept. 16, 2013, file photo shows a banner with the portraits of the French hostages that were kidnapped in Niger three years ago set up on the fourth district city hall in Paris, France. The portraits show from top left, clockwise: Thierry Dol, Marc Feret, Daniel Larribe and Pierre Legrand.

Four Frenchmen who had been taken hostage by Islamic extremists in Niger were released on Tuesday. They had been held in captivity for three years, the French President Francois Hollande announced Tuesday. He credited the president of Niger for the success, according to the Associated Press.

Though Niger’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Bazoum told the Associated Press that the captives were freed in neighboring Mali and taken to Niger’s capital, Niamey, he didn’t reveal the details or circumstances of the release. The French government had previously said they would not pay for any captives’ release in West Africa.

The four Frenchmen were kidnapped from their dorm rooms in September 2010 by the North African wing of al-Qaeda. They had been working for the french nuclear company Areva in the city of Arlit. French forces had attempted to free the captives in January, invading Mali to fight radical Islamic extremists. The military maneuver weakened extremists groups in the area.