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Freed French hostages leave Niger after three years in Sahara

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

The men, who were kidnapped in 2010 while working for French nuclear group Areva and a subsidiary of construction group Vinci in northern Niger, were freed on Tuesday after secret talks.

A Reuters correspondent at Niamey airport said the freed men boarded the jet with two French ministers dispatched to pick them up.