Kidnapped French priest freed in Cameroon arrives home


French president Francois Hollande personally greets priest and praises his 'courage' during seven weeks captivity in hands of armed group.

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French President Francois Hollande praised the "courage" of a Roman Catholic priest held hostage for seven weeks by Islamic militants in Cameroon as the cleric arrived home to a joyous welcome on Wednesday, reports AFP.

Hollande greeted Georges Vandenbeusch, who was freed on Tuesday, on the 42-year-old's return to Paris.

Vandenbeusch had been kidnapped on November 13 by heavily armed men who burst into his parish at night in the far north of the central African country and took him to neighbouring Nigeria.

Hollande hailed the priest for his "courage" and "self-sacrifice".

However, he also warned other Frenchmen and women in high-risk areas around the world to take care and avoid putting themselves at risk of being abducted.

"We have to warn those who may be at risk in areas where there is danger," said Hollande.

He said this applied not only to "priests who have a mission to accomplish" but to other French nationals.

France needed to be "rigorous" not to allow other hostages to be taken, added Hollande.

Vandenbeusch, who was also greeted by loved ones, said he had not been mistreated by his captors despite being kept in "rustic conditions".

He expressed "great joy" at returning home but said people should remember those who are still being held hostage.

Read more of this AFP report published by Google.

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