Release of France’s last hostage
France’s remaining hostage in the world, held since 2011 by Al Qaeda’s north African arm, has been released, said President Francois Hollande. Serge Lazarevic was held in the Sahara by AQIM for almost three years after being kidnapped in northern Mali. Hollande said Lazarevic was currently en route for Niamey, capital of neighbouring Niger, from where he would head back to Paris.
“Serge Lazarevic, our last hostage, is free,” Hollande told reporters during an official visit in Paris. “France has no more hostages, in any part of the world.” Hollande’s office said in a statement Lazarevic was in “relatively good health despite the very trying conditions of his long captivity.”
Both Nigerien and Malian authorities were involved in the release, the office of Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou said in a statement.