French Journalist Returns Home After Two Years of Captivity in Mali

 

Olivier Dubois, a French journalist, returned to France on Tuesday after being released by Islamic militants in Mali who had held him captive for nearly two years.

He was reunited with his sister and father at the Villacoublay military airport outside Paris, where President Emmanuel Macron greeted him.

Dubois was apprehended in northern Mali in April 2021, a region rife with extremist conflict linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.

He had been living in Mali since 2015 and had worked for the newspaper Libération and the magazine Le Point, among other publications.

The 48-year-old journalist was the last Frenchman known to be held prisoner by a non-state organization since the release of charity worker Sophie Pétronin, who was kidnapped in Mali in October 2020.

He landed in Niamey, Niger’s capital, on Monday after being released along with Jeffrey Woodke, a 61-year-old humanitarian assistance worker who was kidnapped in south-west Niger in October 2016.

The conditions of their release have not been disclosed.

“After several months of effort, the Nigerian authorities obtained the liberation of two hostages held by Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin,” said Nigerien Interior Minister, Hamadou Adamou Souley, at the airport.

Without making any further comment on the government’s role in their release, he said the two men had been picked up by the Nigerien authorities before being handed over to the French and American authorities.

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