French commandos killed in daring Burkina Faso hostage rescue

The operation was ordered to free Patrick Picque right and Laurent Lassimouillas left

French authorities had been looking for the two tourists after their guide's body was found earlier this month, according to France 24.

French special forces who rescued four people, including two French citizens, being held by militants in Burkina Faso on Friday had not been aware of the presence of the American and South Korean hostages, France's Armed Forces Minister said.

Macron will lead a national tribute to the men, both officers in the naval special forces, at the Les Invalides military hospital and mausoleum in Paris on Tuesday.

The two soldiers were reportedly killed at close quarters as they entered one of the kidnappers' four shelters.

When contacted by NPR about the operation Friday, the U.S. State Department did not offer a direct comment.

In a separate statement, Defence Minister Florence Parly thanked authorities in Burkina Faso and neighbouring Benin for their help with the "complex operation", as well as the United States for its "precious support" in the operation.

When the gang stopped in northern Burkina Faso on Thursday night, the military considered this to be the final opportunity to intervene before the hostages were transferred to Islamist militants in Mali - where a rescue operation would have been too risky.

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In a statement obtained by the BBC, Macron said he "bows with emotion and solemnity before the sacrifice of our two soldiers who gave their lives to save those of our citizens".

Lassimouillas also expressed regret over the death of the Beninese park guide, who was shot dead when the two tourists were kidnapped.

Burkina Faso has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly attacks attributed to a number of extremist groups, including the Ansarul Islam group, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Daesh in the Greater Sahara.

Little is known about the South Korean and American hostages, who had apparently been in the kidnappers' hands for 28 days. A military ceremony is planned for them next week.

"The threat is evolving and has become much more mobile, and now countries to the south of Mali have become targets", Le Drian said Saturday.

But the so-called G5 force has been hobbled by delays in disbursing the money and poor coordination between the five countries, while insecurity has escalated in the border region between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

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