According to an AFP reporter, French journalist Olivier Dubois landed free Monday at Niamey airport, nearly two years after being kidnapped in Mali by the terrorist group Group of Support for Islam and Muslims (GSIM).
“I feel tired but I’m fine,” he said as he got off the plane, smiling and visibly moved, dressed in an open white shirt over a T-shirt and beige pants.
“It’s huge for me to be here, to be free, I wanted to pay tribute to Niger for its expertise in this delicate mission and pay tribute to France and all those who have allowed me to be here today,” he added in front of several journalists.
The American humanitarian Jeffery Woodke, kidnapped in October 2016 in Niger was also released.
Leaning on a cane, his hair white, he appeared alongside Olivier Dubois.
“The hostages were recovered safely by the Nigerien authorities before being handed over to the French and American authorities,” said Nigerien Interior Minister Hamadou Souley at the airport on Monday.
Olivier Dubois, a 48-year-old freelance journalist, was kidnapped by the GSIM, the Sahel’s primary terrorist coalition affiliated to al-Qaeda, on April 8, 2021, in Gao, northern Mali.
He has been living and working in Mali since 2015, when he was kidnapped, for Libération, Le Point, and Jeune Afrique.
On May 5, 2021, he announced his kidnapping in a video uploaded on social media.