Frenchmen Arrive Home After Hostage Ordeal in Niger

  • VOA News

    October 31, 2013 07:55

    Four French men who were held hostage by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Niger have arrived home, ending a more than three-year ordeal.

    A plane carrying the men landed at an airport outside Paris on Wednesday, a day after France announced their release. French President François Hollande and the families of the former hostages were waiting to greet them.

    The French government has denied paying a ransom for the men. However, the French news agency (AFP) reports that at least $28 million may have been paid to secure their release.

    French president François Hollande (4th left) flanked by former French hostages, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian upon the hostages' arrival at the military airport of Villacoublay outside Paris on Oct. 30, 2013. /AFP

    The French nationals were captured by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in September 2010. At the time, they were working for the French nuclear firm Areva.

    On Tuesday, the French defense minister said an initiative taken by Niger allowed the men to be liberated without fighting or France paying a ransom.

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