French special forces free Dutchman Sjaak Rijke in Mali

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France’s military says a Dutch hostage kidnapped in Mali in 2011 has been rescued in a special forces operation.

The military said the rescue of Sjaak Rijke took place at 5 a.m. Monday in far northern Mali, and that several militants were captured. Some 3,000 French forces are taking part in the mission to stabilize Mali, which was overrun by Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic extremists until French troops came to the aid of Malian soldiers.

Rijke was abducted by extremists in November 2011 in Timbuktu. France said he was safely evacuated to a French operating base in Tassalit.

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