French troops rescue four hostages in Burkina Faso raid

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Two French soldiers killed while rescuing the four foreign hostages in northern Burkina Faso.

French special forces have freed four foreign hostages in northern Burkina Faso in a military raid that cost the lives of two soldiers.

Those freed in the overnight raid on Friday included two French tourists, an American woman and a South Korean woman, the French presidency said in a statement. All four were safe, it added.

President Emmanuel Macron congratulated the French armed forces for freeing the hostages and expressed condolences for the soldiers killed in the operation, saying he “bows with emotion and solemnity before the sacrifice of our two soldiers”.

In a separate statement, Defence Minister Florence Parly thanked authorities in Burkina Faso and neighbouring Benin for their help with the “complex operation”, as well as the United States for its “precious support” in the operation.

Four kidnappers were killed in the raid, the French army said, adding that the US military had provided intelligence.

The French statements did not indicate who was holding the hostages.

The operation was ordered to free the French hostages, identified as Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas, who were kidnapped while on safari in Benin.

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