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French Hostage Released by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi • Dec 10, 2014 at 7:03 am
Despite repeated French denials, it is apparent that France is paying extensive ransom money for French hostages held by al-Qaeda affiliates. Such financing can only strengthen al-Qaeda affiliates in North Africa and elsewhere.
"A French citizen who has been held hostage since 2011 has been released, French President Francois Hollande announced on Tuesday.
Fifty-year-old Serge Lazarevic had been held for nearly three years in the Sahara by al Qaeda's North Africa arm. Hollande said he was currently on his way to Niger, from where he would travel to Paris.
"Serge Lazarevic, our last hostage, is free," Hollande said in Paris. "France has no more hostages, in any part of the world." Hollande said Lazarevic was in "relatively good health" and also thanked the Niger president for helping secure his release.
Lazarevic is the last of more than a dozen French citizens taken captive in recent years; last year alone, 15 French citizens were held hostage in Africa. Syrian jihadists released four French journalists from captivity earlier this year. Speaking to reporters, Hollande urged French citizens and companies to continue to take precautions against kidnappings."
Read more here.
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