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Four French Hostages in Niger Released

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.

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