(NPR) France’s military has freed four hostages who were being held in Burkina Faso. But as it announced that success, the navy also said it’s mourning two special forces soldiers who died in the overnight rescue operation.
The military says Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, who held the rank of petty officers, were killed as they carried out their mission to rescue the hostages in the vast Sahel region — the area between the Sahara to the north and savannas to the south.
French President Emmanuel Macron issued a statement Friday offering his condolences to the two commandos’ loved ones. In that message, Macron also identified the rescued hostages as French tourists Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas — who were abducted May 1 in Benin.