As it happened: Macron welcomes ex-hostage Sophie Pétronin home to France

French President Emmanuel Macron stands next to French aid worker Sophie Pétronin upon her arrival at the Villacoublay military airport near Paris, France October 9, 2020.
French President Emmanuel Macron stands next to French aid worker Sophie Pétronin upon her arrival at the Villacoublay military airport near Paris, France October 9, 2020. © Reuters

Sophie Pétronin, a 75-year-old aid worker who was the last French hostage in the world until her release on Thursday, was greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron on an airport tarmac outside Paris on Friday. She had been held captive by jihadists in Mali since her abduction on Christmas Eve in 2016. FRANCE 24 provided this live coverage of the poignant moment when Pétronin first set foot in France after her lengthy ordeal.

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  • Pétronin was released on Thursday after nearly four years in captivity.
  • She was freed alongside Malian politician Soumaïla Cissé and two Italian nationals.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron voiced “immense relief” at Pétronin's release, and tweeted Friday that "the French are thrilled along with me to see you again" as he welcomed the aid worker as her plane touched down outside Paris.

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