Hostages rescued from Burkina Faso 'hell' praise fallen French commandos

2 French soldiers killed while freeing 4 kidnapped tourists in Burkina Faso

Breaking: French forces free American, South Korean in Burkina Faso

Two of the freed hostages are French, while one is a South Korean.

The three are due to be welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron at a military airport outside Paris later on Saturday.

The spokesperson with the U.S. State Department confirmed that an American had been freed, but would not say if U.S. officials were aware, prior to the raid, that an American woman was being held hostage.

A South Korean woman, who was rescued by the French military after almost a month of captivity in the western African country of Burkina Faso, remains in good health, Seoul's foreign ministry said Sunday.


The two French tourists rescued from their kidnappers in Burkina Faso this week were seized in an area of Benin that France has long advised travellers to avoid, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Saturday. The two will be honored in a national tribute Tuesday, Macron said.

The French government identified the two soldiers killed as Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello. French officials said they had been in captivity for four weeks but did not believe the US or South Korean governments were aware they were being held.

The hostages had been kidnapped in neighbouring Benin earlier this month.

Parly said the kidnappers' identity was not yet known but there were two main militant groups operating near where the French tourists were taken, one linked to al-Qaeda and the other to the Islamic State group. Their guide was later found dead.


He added that the American and Korean had been held for 28 days.

Burkina Faso has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly attacks attributed to a number of extremist groups, including the Ansarul Islam group, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Daesh in the Greater Sahara.

A military ceremony for the commanders is planned for next week.

The last death was announced on April 2 when a military doctor was killed in Mali when his armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device during an operation near the border with Burkina Faso.


Macron also thanked the Beninese and Burkinabé authorities for their "perfect cooperation" and reaffirmed France's commitment to fighting terrorism in the Sahel region.

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