April 07, 2015
France Frees Hostage Sjaak Rijke From AQIM
You know the world is PFU when the French are the only ones willing to how shall we say, sack it up.
Paris (AFP) - French special forces on Monday freed a Dutch hostage who had been held by Al-Qaeda-linked extremists in Mali for more than three years, after staging a dramatic desert raid that culminated in a gunbattle with his captors.
France's defence ministry said Sjaak Rijke, a train driver abducted while on holiday in Timbuktu in November 2011, was freed during "military action carried out by the French army's special forces."
"This combat action has also led to the capture of several individuals," added the ministry, referring to the raid against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
It said Rijke was "safe and sound."
French President Francois Hollande said the freed hostage had been transported to a safe location and that a number of suspected jihadists were killed during the operation.
He said the French soldiers were not aware of the hostage's location before the raid against the extremists near Tessalit in Mali's far north, close to the border with Algeria.
"It was a surprise for us -- for our forces -- to be able to free this hostage because we did not have information" about his presence, Hollande said, without providing further details.