Kidnapped French official Pierre Huguet has been re-united with his wife after being released on Sunday (12 March) by Muslin rebels in the Southern Philippines.
SV PIERRE HUGUET ACCOMPANIED TO PLANE BY FRENCH AND PHILIPPINES OFFICIALS IN ZAMBOANGA (2 SHOTS)
SV HUGUET SPEAKING TO OFFICIALS ON PLANE
SV FRENCH AMBASSADOR AND WIFE MARIE-NICOLE OF HAND AS HUGUET LEAVES PLANE IN MANILA (4 SHOTS)
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Background: Kidnapped French official Pierre Huguet has been re-united with his wife after being released on Sunday (12 March) by Muslin rebels in the Southern Philippines. Monsieur Huguet, a French culture ministry official, was seized two weeks age by four armed men while on a sightseeing tour of a Moslem village in Zamboanga City.
SYNOPSIS: Philippines military authorities said Monsieur Huguet was freed without any ransom being paid.
Two weeks of being held captive on a small island 500 moles south of Manila, has left the 59 year old French official in a weakened conditioned, although unharmed.
Before leaving for Manila, Monsieur Huguet was taken to a miliary hospital where he was treated for first degree sunburn of the face and chest, and for an abscess on an elbow joint.
His release was part of an involved package deal. Five close relatives of the kidnappers were freed on exchange for the French official. The recovery team flew to a rendezvous point heavily guarded by about a thousand armed rebels. Nine motorised boats arrived shortly afterwards with a team of the rebels and Monsieur Huguet. (SEQ 1)
On the way back to Manila, Monsieur Huguet remained silent about his experience but told officials he felt well.
His wife Marie-Nicole and the French Ambassador were on hand to greet him as he stopped from the plane. After an emotional welcome Monsieur Huguet said he was happy to be able to see his wife and go home. He said he was extremely tired.
The French Embassy in Manila expressed its gratitude to the Philippines for the release. In a statement, the Embassy thanked the Philippines military and Ceasefire Commission, and cooperation by the negotiators as well as their diligence and their firmness, have led to the early release of Monsieur Huguet under the best conditions and in the shortest time possible.
Monsieur Huguet, who limped slightly along the tarmac to a waiting limestone, is expected to rest at the French Embassy a few days before flying to Paris (SEQ 2-3)