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Kidnapped French priest set free, welcomed home

Thursday, January 02, 2014 - 01:35

Jan. 1 - A French Catholic priest kidnapped in northern Cameroon last month arrived back in France, to a welcome by French President Francois Hollande. Jillian Kitchener reports.

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A French Catholic priest kidnapped in northern Cameroon arrived back in France on Wednesday. Georges Vandenbeusch's plane landed at a military base near Paris where he and President Francois Hollande addressed the media. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRIEST GEORGES VANDENBEUSCH, SAYING: "These days seemed terribly long to me and...at the same time...I am thinking about other hostages who stayed very long and to those who are still there, and I can now measure what they are going through or what they have been through." His November 13th kidnapping was the latest in a series of attacks on French targets in Africa, after France launched a military intervention in Mali to oust al Qaeda Islamists. Six French nationals are still held hostage in Mali and Syria. President Hollande said they have not been forgotten. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE SAYING: "As long as all of our hostages and compatriots are not back, we will continue to fight discreetly to make sure that no French national is held captive because he is French." Vandeneusch's release spoke volumes for friends and parishioners at his church, who celebrated the news of his release. (SOUNDBITE) (French) PARISHIONER MRS DUCLERC SAYING: "All the parishioners here loved him dearly and we were all waiting for him. Everyone prayed a lot for his release and he has been released, it's a great joy. A great joy for France also because a hostage release is one hostage less. It's a joy." A joyous homecoming for France -- to begin the new year.

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Kidnapped French priest set free, welcomed home

Thursday, January 02, 2014 - 01:35