4 French hostages released in Niger, President says

French President Francois Hollande announces the release of four French hostages during his visit to Slovakia.

Story highlights

  • Seven people were abducted by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in 2010
  • Three were released in 2011
  • AQIM posted a video of the four remaining hostages in April 2011
  • French officials are in Niger to bring the men back home
Four French hostages held in Niger since 2010 have been released, French President Francois Hollande announced Tuesday.
A French Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed the release to CNN, adding that Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian have arrived in Niamey, Niger's capital, to bring the men back to France.
The President's announcement came during a visit to Slovakia.
The men -- Pierre Legrand, Daniel Larribe, Thierry Dol and Marc Feret -- were part of a group of seven people who were abducted by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb on September 16, 2010, in Arlit, a city in central Niger. Three people were released in 2011, including Larribe's wife, Francoise, who was ill, as well as Jean-Claude Rakotorilalao of Madagascar and Alex Awando from Togo.
In April 2011, AQIM released a video of the men asking then-President Nicolas Sarkozy to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan.