French Military Frees Foreign Hostages from Burkina Faso

2 French soldiers killed while freeing 4 kidnapped tourists in Burkina Faso

"Two French soldiers died in the rescue operation".

Tracking the kidnappers to a remote shelter, French troops moved in.

Several U.S. officials told ABC News that the U.S. government was unaware until Friday that the American woman was being held.

Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo has delivered South Korea's gratitude to the French military for a rescue operation that saved a Korean and three other hostages in Burkina Faso.

"We were not aware of their presence. the American will be repatriated separately", Florence Parly told a news conference.

Their disappearance became apparent when they failed to return from sightseeing. Their guide was later found dead.

Two of the hostages present in France Saturday were identified as Frenchmen Laurent Lassimouillas and Patrick Picque, while the third was an unidentified South Korean woman.

Macron has announced plans for a national tribute on Tuesday to the soldiers, Cedric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, members of the elite Hubert squad of the French navy's special forces who carried out the raid.

The two men, music teachers from the Paris region, are expected to travel back to France on Sunday.

Two French soldiers were killed in the overnight raid, which was supported by United States intelligence, reports Reuters.

"All our thoughts go to the families of the soldiers and to the soldiers who lost their lives to free us from this hell", Lassimouillas said.

"Macron is president of all French citizens, even those who do reckless acts", he said. But details about how the Korean woman was taken hostage are not known. He described the kidnappers as "terrorists".

The risk of their being transferred to an extremist group in Mali - which would have made efforts to free them impossible - triggered the operation, Lecointre said.

French officials said on Friday it was not yet clear who had kidnapped them in Benin but that their captors planned to hand them over to an al Qaeda affiliate in neighbouring Mali.

France has 4500 troops based in the Sahel region on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert as part of its Operation Barkhane, an ongoing coalition effort in Africa's Sahel region to fight jihadist insurgents.

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