The French defence ministry says a Dutch citizen Sjaak Rijke, held captive in Mali since 2011, has been freed.
The defence ministry said in a statement that Rijke was freed during “military action carried out by the French army’s special forces.”
It said several other individuals were captured during combat action. The statement gave no specific details.
Rijke was abducted from a restaurant nearly four years ago in the northern Mali town of Timbuktu by Al Qaeda.
He is thought to have been held in the Sahara ever since.
A South African and a Swede taken at the same time as the Dutchman are still in the hands of their captors.
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