PARIS, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Four people, including two French tourists, abducted in early May in Benin, have been freed in Burkina Faso during a military operation conducted by French special forces, President Emmanuel Macron's office announced here on Friday.
The rescue operation cost the life of two French soldiers.
Macron "welcomes the release of four hostages in the Sahel, including our two compatriots, Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas, kidnapped on May 1 in Benin," a statement from the president's office said.
It said that the two other freed hostages were an American and a South Korean. All four were safe. The two French tourists will return home soon.
In a separate statement, the French Defense Ministry said that the country's special forces had carried out the operation overnight, backed by U.S. intelligence and troops from France's Operation Barkhane, an ongoing anti-insurgent operation in Africa's Sahel region.
"The precise and determined actions of French soldiers allowed us to take out the kidnappers, while protecting the lives of the hostages," the statement said.