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France

Paris walk marks three years since Niger abductions

Video by Catherine Nicholson

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-16

A small and determined group of marchers is walking a long and symbolic route through the Parisian suburbs to mark exactly three years since four French nationals were abducted by al-Qaeda’s North African branch while working in Niger.

Friends and family of four French citizens kidnapped by al-Qaeda’s North African branch are marching Monday through the Parisian suburbs to the city centre to mark the third anniversary of the hostages' capture.

Thierry Dol, Marc Féret, Daniel Larribe and Pierre Legrand were all working for French companies Areva and Vinci when they were seized at Arlit, Niger in September 2010.

The small but determined group of supporters set off early Monday morning on a symbolic 18-kilometre march into central Paris, where the hostages’ pictures are on display.

The walk has taken them to key points along the way,  where the group left letters and petitions, and was due to end at 3 a.m. Tuesday – precisely the hour the militants abducted their hostages.

The group stopped first at headquarters of the companies that employed the men – Areva and Vinci – followed by various government institutions including the Elysée presidential palace, the Senate, and National Assembly. It wraps up at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Quai d’Orsay.

At the weekend, French President François Hollande said that he had received proof that the four were still alive.

But the friends and family of the hostages are determined that Monday’s march will do as much as possible to ensure more is done to secure their release.

Françoise Larribe, whose husband Daniel is being held, told FRANCE 24: "Think about everything that's happened in the last three years of your life – births, weddings, deaths, all the happy and sad events, it's so long."

Larribe was among the group originally kidnapped, before she and two others were freed in February 2011.

Emmanuel Fesquet, a friend of one of the hostages, said: "If we talk about them and make their situation better known among the general public, that could help us reach a solution. At least I very much hope so."

Late on Monday the Mauritanian news agency ANI said it had video footage of the four French hostages, as well as three others – Dutch, Swedish and British-South African – captured in November 2011.

Date created : 2013-09-16

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