Four hostages freed in Burkina Faso by French special forces
PARIS AFP MAY10, 2019- French special forces have freed two French hostages, an American and a South Korean in northern Burkina Faso in an overnight military raid that cost the lives of two soldiers, the French presidency said Friday.
The operation was ordered to free the French hostages, identified as Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas, who disappeared while on holiday in the remote Pendjari National Park in Benin on May 1.
The identity of the American and South Korean hostages was not immediately known, but they were both said to be women in the statement. The location of the raid confirmed that the French tourists had been kidnapped in Benin and taken over the nearby border into Burkina Faso, where Islamist terror groups have stepped up attacks in recent months. President Emmanuel Macron “wants to congratulate the French armed forces for the liberation of the hostages, and includes everyone who worked alongside them,” a statement from the presidency said.
“He bows with emotion and solemnity before the sacrifice of our two soldiers who gave their lives to save those of our citizens,” the statement added.
Former colonial ruler France has 4,500 troops deployed in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in a mission codenamed Barkhane to help local forces try to flush out jihadist groups.
Laurent Lassimouillas (L) and Patrick Picque posing at an undisclosed location