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Bridging The Gap
French hostages praise rescue 'from hell' in Burkina Faso
  Saturday 11 May, 2019
French hostages praise rescue \'from hell\' in Burkina Faso

Two French tourists who were held hostage in Burkina Faso have thanked the French soldiers who "lost their lives to free us from this hell".

Two French special forces soldiers died during the raid, which rescued four hostages and killed four kidnappers.

"All our thoughts go out to the families of the soldiers and to the soldiers, said Laurent Lassimouillas, one of the French hostages.

Two hostages, from the US and South Korea, have not yet been named.

Mr Lassimouillas was kidnapped on 1 May along with Patrick Picque. The two music teachers were on safari in the remote Pendjari National Park in northern Benin.

The pair, along with the South Korean, have now returned to France, arriving on Saturday at Villacoublay airport outside Paris to be greeted by President Emmanuel Macron.

French special forces soldiers Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello died during the raid in Burkina Faso.

Mr Macron has announced a national tribute will be held on Tuesday in Paris in honour of the soldiers.

Mr Lassimouillas said: "We would like to thank the French authorities and those of Burkina Faso for participating in our liberation, so that we are now very far from all this hell we have been through."

He also paid tribute to the pair's Beninese driver and guide, who was killed by the kidnappers.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged people to take note of official travel warnings.

"The zone where our two citizens were has for some time now been considered a red zone, which means it's a zone where you shouldn't go, where you're taking significant risks if you do go," Mr Le Drian told Europe 1 radio.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-48238884

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