Oct. 9 (UPI) -- The Malian presidential office said Sophie Petronin, a French charity worker who has been held hostage by armed Islamists in the West African country for nearly four years, has been released.
Petronin, 75, was kidnapped on Dec. 24, 2016, in the northern city of Gao, and was considered to be France's last hostage to be held by armed jihadists.
The president's office said in a tweet Friday that Soumaila Cisse, a Malian politician, was also released.
"The presidency of the republic confirms the release of Mr. Soumaila Cisse and Ms. Sophie Petronin," the tweet said, adding that the former hostages were on their way to the Malian capital of Bamako.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that he had spoken with Petronin on the phone.
"What a joy to have heard her voice and to know that she is safe now!" Macron said via Twitter. "I will welcome her when she returns to France tomorrow."
In an earlier tweet confirming Petronin's release, Macron thanked the Malian authorities for securing her freedom.
Along with Petronin and Cisse, two Italian nationals were also freed, the Mali government said.
Their release was part of a prisoner swap that included some 100 jihadists, the BBC reported.