France Pays Respects to 2 Commandos Killed in Burkina Faso Hostage Rescue
The two men perished while saving two French tourists kidnapped during a safari in a no-go area of Benin.
France honored on Tuesday the memory of the two commandos who were killed during last week’s special operation in Burkina Faso for the rescue of four hostages, including two French citizens.
French special forces Cedric de Pierrepont, 33, and Alain Bertoncello, 28, who died in the rescue raid in Burkina Faso, were honored at the Invalides military complex in Paris in a ceremony led by French President Emmanuel Macron, France24 reports.
Last week, Macron declared France’s pride and sadness at the sacrifice of “our two soldiers who gave their lives to save those of our citizens.”
Two French hostages, Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas, aged 51 and 46, were kidnapped on May 1 during a safari in the Penjari National Park in Benin, one of the largest remaining conservation sites for elephants and lions in West Africa.
After that, the kidnappers took the French hostages across Benin’s border to Burkina Faso.
In addition to Picque and Lassimouillas, two more international hostages, a woman from the United States, and a women from South Korea, were also saved in the special operation of the French forces in Africa’s Sahel region.
“This tragic event should serve as a warning to our tourists. Our forces are in Africa for a hard and long war and not to pay the price of carelessness,” French conservative daily Le Figaro commented in an editorial on Monday.
France has lost a total of 24 soldiers since it intervened in the West African nation of Mali back in 2013 to fight off jihadists that had occupied the north of the country.
While there has been grief over the death of the two commandos, many in France have also been resentful of the decision of the two rescued hostages to visit an area of West Africa subject to a travel warning by the French Foreign Ministry.
Four of the kidnappers were killed during last week’s rescue mission in Burkina Faso which was aided by the American military with the providing of intelligence information.
(Banner image: video grab from France24)