Four French hostages kidnapped in Niger by al-Qaida-linked militants have been released after more than three years in captivity.
French President Francois Hollande announced the hostages' release Tuesday while on a visit to Slovakia. He credited Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou for the release.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said, "An initiative taken by the network of the Niger president" allowed the liberation without a clash or France paying a ransom.
The four French nationals were working for French nuclear firm Areva when they were kidnapped by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in the town of Arlit on September 16, 2010.
A French woman and two Africans captured at the same time were released later.