French al Qaida hostage back home

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Published: Wednesday 10th December 2014 by The News Editor

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The French president has urged citizens not to travel to areas where they risk being kidnapped, as he greeted a man returning after being held hostage for three years by al Qaida’s North Africa branch.

Serge Lazarevic arrived in France early today at the Villacoublay airport outside Paris after being released in what some suspect was a prisoner exchange.

His release revived questions about whether governments should negotiate with hostage-takers.

Mr Lazarevic repeatedly thanked Francois Hollande and the government “for having done everything to free me” but neither he nor the president detailed what led to his liberation.

Mr Hollande expressed “extraordinary joy” at his return and urged his compatriots to “avoid zones at risk”.

Mr Lazarevic was kidnapped from a hotel in north-east Mali in November 2011.

Published: Wednesday 10th December 2014 by The News Editor

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