French hostage freed in Sudan: Paris

A French mineworker who was kidnapped in Chad and taken to neighbouring Sudan has been freed after more than six weeks in captivity.

PTI| Updated: May 07, 2017, 17:49 PM IST

Paris: A French mineworker who was kidnapped in Chad and taken to neighbouring Sudan has been freed after more than six weeks in captivity, the French president's office said on Sunday.

President Francois Hollande feels "great pleasure" over the release, his office said in a statement.

Sudanese security agents launched a search for the man, whose identity has not been revealed, in late March after a Chadian minister said he was being held there.
The man was kidnapped near Goz Beida, in southeastern Chad, on March 23.

Several French and other Western nationals have been kidnapped by jihadist groups in west and central Africa in recent years.

The last such case in Chad - a former French colony - was in 2009, when a Frenchman working for the International Committee of the Red Cross was abducted by a shadowy armed group called the Freedom Eagles of Africa, based in Sudan's war-torn Darfur province.

He was freed after 89 days.

Chad is one of France's key African allies in the counter-terror fight, with the capital N'Djamena serving as headquarters for France's Operation Barkhane anti-jihadist force.

Set up in 2014, the force, which counts 4,000 troops, works in five Sahel countries - Chad, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso - to flush out Al-Qaeda-linked extremists.