Freed French hostages leave Niger after three years in Sahara


NIAMEY, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Four Frenchmen held hostage inthe Sahara desert by al Qaeda-linked gunmen for three years leftNiger on a French government plane on Wednesday morning.

The men, who were kidnapped in 2010 while working for Frenchnuclear group Areva and a subsidiary of constructiongroup Vinci in northern Niger, were freed on Tuesdayafter secret talks.

A Reuters correspondent at Niamey airport said the freed menboarded the jet with two French ministers dispatched to pickthem up.

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