May 10, 2019 / 3:57 PM / 2 months ago

French forces weren't aware of U.S, Korean hostages ahead of Burkina operation

French Defence Minister Florence Parly takes part in a news conference after two French soldiers were killed in a rescue operation of four hostages in Burkina Faso, at the headquarters of the French Armed Forces in Paris, France, May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS, (Reuters) - French special forces who rescued four people, including two French citizens, being held by militants in Burkina Faso on Friday had not been aware of the presence of the American and South Korean hostages, France’s Armed Forces Minister said.

“We were not aware of their presence ... the American will be repatriated separately,” Florence Parly told a news conference. “The contacts (with those countries) show that these countries were not necessarily aware of their presence.”

Two French commandos and four kidnappers were killed in the night-time operation, Armed Forces Chief Francois Lecointre said.

He added that the American and Korean had been held for 28 days.

Reporting by John Irish; editing by Michel Rose

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