Two French soldiers die freeing hostages in the Sahel

Sahel - Freeing of hostages – Press release issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, 10 May 2019

The French President welcomes the freeing of four hostages in the Sahel, including our two compatriots M. Patrick Picque and M. Laurent Lassimouillas, who were abducted in Benin on 1 May 2019. He shares the relief of their families that they will be returning to France soon. In addition to the two French hostages, an American woman and a South Korean woman were also freed.

The hostages were freed thanks to a military operation conducted by French forces on the night of Thursday to Friday, in northern Burkina Faso. During the operation, two soldiers died in combat: Petty Officer Cédric de Pierrepont and Petty Officer Alain Bertoncello, both NCOs in the special operations command.

The President wants to congratulate the French armed forces, and all those who worked with them, on freeing these hostages. He pays heartfelt and solemn tribute to the sacrifice of our two soldiers, who gave their lives to save those of our fellow citizens. He extends his sincere condolences to their families, friends and brothers-in-arms, and expresses to them the nation’s full solidarity at this difficult time.

The President also thanks the Beninese and Burkinabé authorities for their impeccable cooperation. He assures them of France’s wholehearted desire to help them combat terrorism in the Sahel./.

Published on 16/05/2019

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