Thursday, 31 October 2013

# Al Qaeda # Daniel Larribe

After three years of captivity, 4 French men released by al-Qaeda

           Freed hostage (from r to l) Daniel Larribe, Pierre Legrand, Thierry Dol and Marc Feret
Four Frenchmen held captive by Al Qaeda terrorists for more than three years were due to arrive in Paris yesterday.

Pierre Legrand, 28, Thierry Dol, 32, Daniel Larribe, 62, and Marc Feret, 46 were all captured in September 2010 during raids on a uranium mine near Arlit, northern Niger, where they were working for nuclear giant Areva.

The Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group claimed responsibility and there were always fears that the hostages would be killed.

Officials gave few details on the release, but the French defence minister said there was no assault and that France did not pay a ransom. "There was an initiative taken by the network" of the Niger president "which allowed the liberation without a clash," Jean-Yves Le Drian told France's TF 1 television. Continue...

Thierry Dol (centre) and Daniel Larribe (right) were among four Frenchmen working for nuclear giant Areva when they was snatched by Al Qaeda in a raid on a uranium mine in Niger
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Le Drian travelled to Niamey to bring the four Frenchmen home. Speaking from there on French TV, Fabius said the freed captives are "in good shape" now that "the nightmare is over." He added that the group would reach home by today morning.

Officials had long suspected the hostages were being held in northern Mali, a harsh desert area where there is no tree cover and the blazing midday heat can soar to 40 degrees Celsius. Previous hostages have recounted being bitten by scorpions.
Daniel Larribe is greeted by family members after being held in captivity for three years
French nuclear worker Pierre Legrand (centre in scarf) arrives at Niamey's airport in Niger with French Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (left) after being freed by Al Qaeda

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