Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 18:11 UK

French tourist freed in Pakistan


A French tourist who had been abducted in south-western Pakistan three months ago has been freed.

The 41-year-old Frenchman, Antoine Falsaperla, was released in the district of Dalbandin in Balochistan province, officials said.

He had been taken hostage in May by gunmen from a vehicle in which he was travelling with other tourists.

It is not clear who the kidnappers were or whether any ransom was paid for his release.

"He has been released this morning, he is safe and sound with Pakistani officials," news agency AFP quoted an unnamed official as saying.

The agency quoted officials as saying that the tourist had been taken hostage by "local criminals" and not militants.

Officials said local elders helped secure the release.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his "deep relief" that the tourist had been freed, news agency Associated Press reported.

A statement from the president's office thanked Pakistani authorities for their "decisive help" in securing the man's release, it said.

The Frenchman was kidnapped on 23 May from the area where al-Qaeda and Taliban militants are active.

Western embassies and the Pakistani authorities advise foreigners against travelling in the area.

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