Immense joy, and relief. Sophie Pétronin, 75, the last French hostage in the world, has regained freedom in Mali after four years of detention in the Sahel in the alleged hands of jihadists, the Malian government announced Thursday, October 9. After the news of his release, several reactions were heard. Emmanuel Macron notably expressed his “immense relief”. “To his family, to his relatives, I send a message of sympathy. To the Malian authorities, thank you. The fight against terrorism in the Sahel continues, ”he said on Twitter.
The President of the Republic also announced later in the evening that he would welcome the ex-hostage on his arrival on Friday. “I just exchanged a few words by phone with Sophie Pétronin. What a joy to have heard her voice and to know that she is now safe, ”he said.
In the wake of the announcement of the release of Sophie Pétronin, several members of the government also expressed their relief. “Sophie Pétronin has finally found freedom! We share with his family and loved ones an immense joy, awaited for almost four years. My warmest thanks to the Malian authorities, whose fight against terrorism in the Sahel we will continue to support, ”Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Twitter. “After so many years of suffering for her and for her relatives, she can finally find her family,” said Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, also on Twitter.
Sophie Pétronin is free.
Held hostage for almost 4 years in Mali, her release is a huge relief. To his family, to his relatives, I send a message of sympathy. To the Malian authorities, thank you. The fight against terrorism in the Sahel continues.– Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) October 8, 2020
I just exchanged a few words over the phone with Sophie Pétronin. What a joy to have heard her voice and to know that she is now safe! I will welcome him when he returns to France tomorrow.
– Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) October 8, 2020
Sophie Pétronin is free this evening. After so many years of suffering for her and her loved ones, she can finally find her loved ones. Thank you to Mali for his release.– Florence Parly (@florence_parly) October 8, 2020
“To experience moments like this in a lifetime is something that is absolutely incredible”
“My son’s heart is filled, it is filled, it is overflowing”, declared to France 24 Sébastien Chadaud, son of Sophie Pétronin, shortly before the reunion. “My little mother, in a few minutes, I will be able to give her a hug and be able to take care of her finally, after four years. I had information that she was in good health, correct let’s say, and it was confirmed to me. So, here we are, we are more reassured, now we will be able to take care of her and then try to retype her. But my mother is a rock, I am sure she will recover, ”he added.
Read also Mali: the images of the reunion between Sophie Pétronin and her son
Asked by France Info, Pierre Camatte, who was hostage between November 2009 and February 2010 of the Maghreb branch of Al-Qaeda in northern Mali, also reacted to the release of Sophie Pétronin. “To experience moments like this in a lifetime is something that is absolutely incredible”, said, saying to himself “very happy for his family and loved ones, because it is something extraordinary. “. The ex-hostage remembered his own release, which he only had “a few moments” before. “These moments are always engraved, they are always in front of my eyes, and I still think about them very, very often”.