French hostage freed in Mali arrives home in France

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of our fellow citizen,” Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis said in a statement. “I condemn this cruel act and express my deepest sympathy to the relatives.”

Earlier Friday, 75-year-old French aid worker Sophie Petronin descended from a plane at the Villacoublay military airport southwest of Paris, where she was greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Wearing a white veil and a trench coat, Petronin held her grandsons in her arms.

“The French and I are glad to see you back at last, dear Sophie Petronin,” Macron tweeted. “Welcome home.”

Petronin met with Macron for about an hour at the airport. They did not speak to the press.

Macron expressed joy and relief at her release, thanked the Malian authorities and promised that the French military would continue its fight against terrorism in the West African region.

In an emotional

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French Hostage Freed in Mali Arrives Home in France | World News

By BABA AHMED and ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — A 75-year-old French aid worker held hostage for four years by Islamic extremists in Mali was reunited Friday with her grandchildren in France, as relatives also welcomed home two Italians and a Malian politician freed with her this week.

They were released earlier this week, days after the Malian government freed nearly 200 Islamic militants in an apparent prisoner exchange.

But later Friday the Swiss government said a Swiss national held captive by the same extremist group had been killed. The foreign ministry didn’t name the woman, It said it had received the information from French authorities, who were notified by “the recently released French hostage.”

Earlier Friday, 75-year-old French aid worker Sophie Petronin descended from a plane at the Villacoublay military airport southwest of Paris, where she was greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Wearing a white veil

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Into the arms of her family: released French hostage returns home

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with French aid worker Sophie Petronin who was freed from captivity in the hands of Islamist insurgents upon her arrival at the Villacoublay military airport near Paris, France October 9, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool

VILLACOUBLAY, France (Reuters) – French aid worker Sophie Petronin, released from captivity in the Mali desert, walked down the steps of a military plane that brought her home on Friday and was swept up in the embrace of family members she had not seen for four years.

French President Emmanuel Macron, at the foot of the steps to greet 75-year-old Petronin, exchanged a few words with her but then stood aside while family members, some in tears, formed a tight huddle around Petronin, hugging her and each other.

Petronin was one of four hostages being held by jihadist militants who were released this week. She had been kidnapped near the desert city

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