For the families of the two freed French journalists, the timing could not be better. Just days before Christmas the phone call they had longed to recieve for four months finally came. Speaking from his home in central France, Georges Malbrunot’s brother said he had always said that no news was good news, that until they heard otherwise from the Foreign Office they assumed the men were still in captivity. But he said that this time the news was indeed what they wanted to hear.
“We were sad all the time,” said Malbrunot’s mother. “We thought all the time about what they were doing, how they were. The news was a shock, really it was. But I feel much better now, now that they’ve been freed.” The Chesnots have gathered at Christian’s sister’s house for Christmas, near to Paris.
Mr Chesnot said the news was a big surprise, something they had hoped for but were almost afraid of believing. He added that they had no idea which day or which week they would hear the men’s fate. His wife said at times she, too, feared her son would not come home. She said she was looking forward to seeing him walk down the stairs of the aircraft – that will be the moment we can be sure he’s back, she added.