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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 3:52pm
(CNN) -- — Four French hostages held in Niger since 2010 have been released, French President Francois Hollande announced Tuesday.
A French Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed the release to CNN, adding that Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian have arrived in Niamey, Niger's capital, to bring the men back to France.
The President's announcement came during a visit to Slovakia.
The men -- Pierre Legrand, Daniel Larribe, Thierry Dol and Marc Feret -- were part of a group of seven people who were abducted by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb on September 16, 2010, in Arlit, a city in central Niger. Three people were released in 2011, including Larribe's wife, Francoise, who was ill, as well as Jean-Claude Rakotorilalao of Madagascar and Alex Awando from Togo.
In April 2011, AQIM released a video of the men asking then-President Nicolas Sarkozy to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan.