Hostages freed in Burkina Faso greeted by Macron at airport

Hostages freed in Burkina Faso greeted by Macron at airport

Officials said the hostages and their captors were in transit in Burkina Faso and the kidnappers meant to take them to Mali.

The two French tourists were kidnapped in Benin's Pendjari National Park last week.

"France's message to terrorists is clear: those who want to attack France, the French, should know that we will hunt them, we will find them, and we will kill them", Defence Minister Florence Parly said after joining Macron at the Villacoublay military airport outside Paris.

The two French people reportedly went missing on May 1 at a national park in the northern part of the western African country of Benin. The fourth hostage, an American woman, was not identified, and was flown back to the United States without speaking to Macron, according to The Daily Mail. They expressed regret over what happened and French officials say their captors were "terrorists" who planned to transport them to an Al Qaeda affiliate in Mali.

Cédric de Pierrepont, 32, and Alain Bertoncello, 27, both highly decorated Marine petty officers, were killed in the operation on Thursday night.

Several U.S. officials told ABC News that the U.S. government was unaware until Friday that the American woman was being held.

At least two of the hostages were captured in neighboring Benin.

Commanders chose to act because the kidnappers were close to the Malian border and were believed to be planning to hand the hostages over to the Mali-based militant group Katiba Macina.


In the early hours of Friday morning, French commanders launched an operation to rescue two French tourists held captive in the region of Burkina Faso.

The statement did not indicate who was holding the tourists, but Islamist militants have been increasingly active in the area in recent months.

As France's military announced news of the two commandos' death, Adm. Christophe Prazuck, the French navy's chief of staff, issued a statement saying, "I admire their courage, I share the sorrow of their families and their loved ones".

There were six kidnappers, four of whom were killed, with the other two on the run, French authorities said.

"The threat is evolving and has become much more mobile, and now countries to the south of Mali have become targets", Le Drian said on Saturday. "The greatest precaution must be taken in these regions to prevent such abductions from taking place and to avoid the sacrifice of our soldiers".

Burkinabe security and intelligence forces assisted in the operation.

Tracking the kidnappers to a remote shelter, French troops moved in.

Macron thanked authorities in Burkina Faso and Benin for their cooperation and promised them support in fighting terrorism.

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