Less than a week after the release of four hostages, including two French during an operation by the French army in Burkina Faso where two soldiers were killed, many questions arise. If the two men who were repatriated on Saturday to the military base of Villacoublay, a few kilometers from Paris, were soberly greeted by Emmanuel Macron and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, we know much less about the other two hostages, a South Korean and an American.
An official from the South Korean embassy in Paris said that the Korean hostage is a "simple tourist" who "simply traveled". His abduction by armed men allegedly took place a month ago while he tried to cross the border between Burkina Faso and Benin by car. She was in the company of the American, according to the head of his embassy in Paris.
Prisoner since 28 days
On Friday Tibor Nagy, the head of the US Department of Foreign Affairs in charge of Africa, had thanked France via social networks for the release of the national and according to various sources the latter would have been supported by US services. The chain CBA stressed that he was a tourist who was detained for 28 days, as the French authorities indicated at a press conference, but filtered little additional information. This Sunday, the JDD had also published a photo of the hostages where the latter had been withdrawn at the request of the authorities.
We are grateful for the safe recovery of hostages, including an American, during a recovery operation in Burkina Faso. I express my deep condolences to the families of the French soldiers who died during the operation. (02/01)
– Tibor Nagy (@AsstSecStateAF) May 10, 2019
The United States refuses to pay ransom
Why such a lack of communication from the US authorities? As a first step, it must be recalled that US hostage policy differs greatly from that in France. In 2014, at the time of Daesh's capture and execution of David Haines Scottish humanitarian aid, President Barack Obama indirectly blamed France for wanting the ransom demanded for the latter.
At the moment, the New York Times he explained that during a long meeting with the former president & # 39; he had expressed his frustration about the French paying ransom to terrorists & # 39 ;.
As reminded of him slate, "he noted that the United States is paying ransom to terrorists, but has annoyed that French President Francois Hollande says his country is not paying, while in fact, yes."
Officially, American policy is clear: it is impossible to pay ransom for a hostage and therefore to enrich a terrorist group. The management of the hostage by the US remains in fact unclear. According to Joshua Keating, a political scientist interviewed by the same media, "the consequence is that while dozens of European citizens have been liberated by terrorist groups in the past five years, very few Americans or British citizens" concerned.
The tricky issue of releases
Interrogated by Le FigaroNatalie Maroun, director of the development of the International Crisis Observatory and media analyst, believes that the decision not to pay ransom can take on a more philosophical dimension. "It seems paradoxical to hit the jihadists on one side and negotiate with them," she says.
"For the Americans, a hostage man is practically a lost person and is believed to be part of taking risks, so negotiations rarely succeed," she continues.
During this interview, conducted in 2014 shortly after the execution of journalist James Foley, the first American hostage killed by Daesh, Natalie Maroun also gave a certain American state of mind in times of crisis: "In a crisis situation, we seek compromise, in wartime we seek, whatever happens, to destroy the adversary. "