Don't miss




S.Africa's former President Zuma to face corruption charges

Read more


'60 Minutes' to air interview with porn actress aledging affair with Trump

Read more


In Africa, French is more than a common language

Read more


Poisoned Relations: UK sanctions Russia over nerve agent attack

Read more


Behind the scenes at France's majestic Chantilly castle

Read more

#THE 51%

#MeToo in South Korea

Read more


Russia's opposition weakened as Putin looks set for fourth term

Read more


Ireland: The forgotten Angels of Tuam

Read more


Fantasy novelist Robin Hobb among guests at France's biggest book fair

Read more


Sarkozy meets released French hostage in Mali

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-02-25

French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with released French hostage Pierre Camatte (pictured) in the Malian capital of Bamako early Thursday following Camatte’s release in a prisoner swap with al Qaeda's North African branch.

REUTERS - French aid worker Pierre Camatte, who was released from captivity by North African al Qaeda militants this week, met President of France Nicolas Sarkozy in Malian capital Bamako on Thursday.

"I thank my friend the president of Mali (Amadou Toumani Toure) for all he has done for the liberation of Pierre Camatte," Sarkozy told journalists in Mali's presidential palace.

Camatte, released on Tuesday, was brought to Bamako by Mali's security forces a day later. He was due to fly to Paris after the news conference, while Sarkozy left for Rwanda.

"I say to the people of Mali, that in your fight against al Qaeda, against terrorists, against assassins, that France ... is determinedly by your side," Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy, who was accompanied by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, said France was committed to fighting al Qaeda in the Sahel region, which straddles black and Arab Africa. "I'm thinking particularly of Mauritania and Algeria," he said.

During a visit to Gabon on Wednesday, Sarkozy drew attention to what analysts say is a growing problem in a vast, inhospitable desert region in North and West Africa which is extremely difficult to police.

"I don't want to forget that there are still other hostages in the area, Spaniards and Italians, who are being held by these terrorist groups that are rampant in the Sahel," he said there.

"All states that are able to do so have to work towards obtaining their release," he added.

Camatte was taken hostage by al Qaeda's north African wing in Mali in November. His release came after Mali freed four Islamist prisoners that al Qaeda had demanded released by Feb. 22 to ensure Camatte was not executed.

The prisoner swap has angered Algeria and Mauritania, two countries where al Qaeda cells also operate.

Date created : 2010-02-25

  • MALI

    Sarkozy heads to Bamako to meet with freed French hostage

    Read more

  • MALI

    Militants in hostage swap deal freed after serving sentence

    Read more

  • MALI

    North African al Qaeda demands ransom for French hostage

    Read more