Two French Commandos Die Rescuing Hostages Held in Burkina Faso

(Bloomberg) -- Two French special forces soldiers died Thursday night as their commando unit freed four hostages held in Burkina Faso during a “complex” operation, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the “sacrifice” of the two men, aged 28 and 33.

The French military operation in West Africa freed two French citizens, an American, and a South Korean, Macron’s office said Friday in a statement. The French citizens had been captured and their local guide killed in Benin on May 1. The French army said U.S. intelligence support and Burkina forces helped conduct the operation and the hostages’ rescue.

The French authorities didn’t identify the hostage takers.

The French army saluted the “courage” of the commandos, and French politicians of all sides paid tribute to the two soldiers who died in action. They were part of the French army deployment in the Sahel region, south of the Sahara desert. France has 4,000 troops deployed in its Barkhane mission that’s hunting down Islamist fighters in Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger.

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