S.African held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali freed
- Wired World
- 03 Aug 2017 (South Africa)
by Susan NJANJI A South African man snatched from his hotel and held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali since 2011 has been freed, his country's foreign minister said on Thursday.
Gustafsson was released in June while Rijke was freed in April 2015 by French special forces.
Rijke's wife managed to escape during the jihadist assault on the popular tourist hotel, but a German who tried to resist the abduction was killed.
Al-Qaeda's North African affiliate Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had claimed responsibility for the kidnappings of the three men.
"Our fellow South African... was released on 29 July 2017," Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters.
"We give him a warm welcome back
"He was just a tourist in Timbuktu. We are happy that he is a free man."
- 'Appalled at this kind of activity' -"Her anxiety over Stephen's fate and her longing to see her son finally took its toll," said
"We had seen the sadness in the mother's eye and watched how she patiently waited in dignified pain for the return of her son. We failed her -- my heart bleeds for her," Sooliman told local media in May.
Gift of the Givers reportedly dispatched a hostage negotiator to Mali to push for
The charity said in May 2017 it was giving up its negotiating efforts after hitting a "dead end".
AQIM was one of
The group had released several videos of McGown and Gustafsson over the years, but very little was known about the kidnappers' demands.
"We are appalled at this kind of activity, of Al-Qaeda... that goes into the kidnapping of innocent citizens," said Nkoana-Mashabane.
Monyela added that ministers would soon reveal details of how
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