Two Canadian diplomats and two European women were released by an al-Qaeda-linked North African group on Sunday in exchange for four imprisoned Islamist fighters. The diplomats, Robert Fowler and Louis Guay, were kidnapped in Niger more than four months ago, and were released in neighboring
The Canadian government praised the “quiet diplomacy” that secured the hostages’ release, even though it was not party to the negotiations. Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated plainly that the Canadian government does not pay ransom and does not release prisoners, but failed to indicate whether the other countries involved in securing their release—Mali and Burkina Faso—had paid a ransom. The names of the Islamist prisoners released, and the countries that had held them, were not identified.