As happy as th French people were about the return of the four hostages who were abducted by Al-Qaedain northern Niger three years ago, several were shocked about the appearance of these men on their arrival at the Villacoublay military airport outside Paris, even I including.
Thierry Dol, Daniel Larribe, Pierre Legrand and Marc Féret spent their first night of freedom in a hotel in Niamey, before leaving for Paris wednesday morning where the French president and their families were waiting to welcome them. What we don't understand is why they didn't tidy themselves up by shaving their long beards and changing their cloths.
The politician appeared to hint that she fears the men may have become radicalised by their captors while in Africa, in a theory reminiscent of the plot of the US TV series Homeland. When the interviewer then asks if she is suggesting the men may have been Islamicised during their three years as hostages, she replied :
“I’m not a psychiatrist, I am expressing the feelings I had, which I think were shared by a lot of the French public. I’m not going to make theories, it would not be my place.”
A mon avis, I think that the men are still in shock. They are not completely in France, body and soul, mais c'est normale, after 1139 days in captivity in harsh conditions... I am not a psychiatrist non plus but one can see that from their attitude, they all refused talking after they were given a heros welcome on their arrival in France even though François Hollande obliged them to. The French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, who had flown to Niger to pick them up also confirmed that some of the men slept on the floor of their rooms, not finding the matresses comfortable.
But the theory of the men being radicalised shouldn't be ruled out either, we all know the story of the veuve blanche and several youths boko haram gave a brain wash or how else will someone wear a bomb to kill people, himself including, for the promises of seventy virgins after death... ?
All four men were working at a uranium mine in Arlit, in the north of Niger, when they were taken hostage. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for their kidnapping.