Three French hostages released in Nigeria

08:27, November 11, 2010      

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Three French hostages kidnapped in Nigeria in September were releasd, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner announced the release in a statement, saying he shared "the happiness and relief from their families and loved ones."

Three French nationals offshore Nigeria working for the company Bourbon Alexandre were taken away by a group of gunmen after an assault on September 22.

The minister said all state departments, including the Foreign Ministry and the National Crisis Center, were fully mobilized and engaged along with the Company Bourbon to free the crewmen.

"I express my gratitude to the Nigerian authorities" and necessary arrangement by the Bourbon, he said, adding making further effort "to secure the release of our compatriots still held as hostages."

Days before the Nigerian abduction, seven employees working for French firms Areva and Satom, including 5 French nationals, were taken away by Al-Qaida wing in North Africa (AQIM) in North Niger.

France has remained its national security alert in red following the abductions.

Al-Qaida head Osama bin Laden warned France in a tape that the Niger kidnapping by its Maghreb branch was protesting France's ban on Muslim women's full-body veil in the country.

Source: Xinhua


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