Swedish government announces release of hostage in Mali

Pauline Gross
June 26, 2017

Al-Qaeda made a gesture, it freed the citizen of Sweden who was kidnapped in 2011.

Gustafsson was kidnapped in Timbuktu on November 25, 2011 by Al Qaeda's North Africa branch along with South African Stephen McGown and Dutchman Sjaak Rijke, according to the BBC.

AQIM took a number of Western hostages in the north of Mali in 2012 before the French military deployed its forces in early 2013.

She added that Swedish and foreign authorities had worked on his release alongside the foreign ministry and the police.

It was during a motorcycle vacation through Africa when Gustafsson was kidnapped in the city of Timbuktu by the terrorist group. While they were forced out of strongholds a year later by a French-led military intervention, jihadists continue to attack Malian and French soldiers and United Nations peacekeepers.

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"It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Johan Gustafsson has been released", Ms Wallström added.

Gift of the Givers, a South African charity, appointed by the families to negotiate the release of Gustafsson and McGowan said it had no news about McGowan.

Gustafsson's family had repeatedly pleaded for his release in statements to the media, but on Monday his father Goran Gustafsson refused to comment on his release.

"I promised my wife in the last day or two - we're going to get Stephen out", husband Malcolm McGown told mourners.

Other reports by GizPress

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