Last French hostage freed by Al Qaeda's north African arm

By REUTERS
December 9, 2014 22:41

 
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PARIS/NIAMEY  - President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday that the last French citizen held hostage, a 50-year-old man seized in 2011 by Al Qaeda's north African arm, had now been freed.

Serge Lazarevic was held in the Sahara by AQIM for almost three years after being kidnapped in northern Mali.

"Serge Lazarevic, our last hostage, is free," Hollande told reporters in Paris. "France has no more hostages, in any part of the world."

Hollande's office said in a statement Lazarevic, described by authorities as an engineer, was in "relatively good health despite the very trying conditions of his long captivity".

On Tuesday evening Lazarevic had reached Niger's capital Niamey, where he met president Mahamadou Issoufou. TV footage showed him smiling and telling reporters that he had lost about 20 kilograms (44 pounds) but was doing fine.

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