• France's news in English

Hollande holds out hope for Al-Qaeda hostages

AFP · 23 Jun 2013, 10:03

Published: 23 Jun 2013 10:03 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

His comments came after Al-Qaeda's north African branch said in a statement Saturday that eight European hostages it is holding are alive and well, promising to release a new video of the five Frenchmen among them.

"We are always seeking contacts, we have every reason to think that the hostages are alive but we must try to free them," Hollande said during a visit to Qatar.

Hollande added that the situation was "unbearable" for the relatives of the hostages, who have been held for 1,000 days, but said that "while there is this anxiety, there is this will to free them".

He stressed the need to do so through reliable contacts, and "not with intermediaries who put themselves forward and who we know have only come looking for benefits for themselves".

The French president also explained his government's silence on the hostages.

"I do not have to give updates on the hostages because, first of all, I know what it means to the families (of the hostages) and I do not want to give them false hopes or, on the other hand, signs which would be discouraging."

On Saturday, demonstrations were held in several towns and cities in France in a show of support for four of the French hostages who have been held by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) for 1,000 days.

Thierry Dol, Daniel Larribe, Pierre Legrand and Marc Feret -- mostly working for French public nuclear giant Areva and its subcontractor Satom -- were kidnapped in Niger by Al-Qaeda-linked militants on September 16th in 2010.

Story continues below…

Francoise Larribe, wife of Daniel, was also captured but was released in 2011.

The fifth French hostage, Serge Lazarevic, was kidnapped in November 2011 in northeast Mali.

In April, President Francois Hollande said France would not buckle under pressure to pay ransom for hostages, saying that by applying discreet measures in such situations, France could handle them more efficiently.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available