A kidnapped French tourist was freed on Friday after three months in captivity in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, a government official said. The Frenchman, who has not been identified, was released in remote Dalbandin district, about 420 km west of the provincial capital of Quetta, local official Mohammad Tufail said.

``I can confirm that the French tourist is free. He has been transported to Quetta,'' Mr. Tufail said. He would not say whether any ransom was paid, but said local elders helped secure the man's release.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his ``deep relief'' the tourist had been freed. A statement from the President's office thanked Pakistani authorities for their ``decisive help'' in securing the man's release.

Gunmen abducted the man in May from a vehicle in which he was riding with other tourists. It was not clear who the kidnappers were.

The province has long been the scene of a low-level insurgency by ethnic Baluch separatists. The Baluchistan unrest is separate from the Islamist militancy Pakistan faces along its north-western border with Afghanistan.

Baluch separatists have acknowledged kidnapping more than 20 police in the province in the past month. At least 12 of the officers have been killed.

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