Salem Radio Network News Thursday, June 1, 2023


French journalist Dubois returns home after Mali captivity

PARIS (Reuters) – French journalist Olivier Dubois arrived home on Tuesday to be warmly embraced by family members and President Emmanuel Macron, bringing an end to almost two years of captivity in Mali.

Dubois, who disappeared in Mali’s northern city of Gao in April 2021, was released on Monday and taken to Niger with U.S. aid worker Jeffery Woodke, who was also freed after being held six years.

Dubois, who had appeared in a video last August urging authorities to do everything they could to free him from Islamist militants holding him, arrived on Tuesday in a French presidency jet on the outskirts of the French capital.

“It’s huge for me to be here today,” Dubois said in Niamey on Monday, smiling as he answered questions from reporters. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I feel tired but I’m well.”

Dubois was the last French national held by militants in the Sahel region. French officials have not commented on the conditions of his release, but thanked Niger for its role in securing his release.

Kidnappings are a relatively common tactic by Islamist insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, which have gained ground across the Sahel region over the past decade, killing thousands and uprooting over two million people in the process.

Those groups have repeatedly declared French citizens in West Africa to be targets since a 2013 military intervention by France drove them back a year earlier.

This is partly because of perceptions that the French government is prepared to pay ransoms to secure their release. France has repeatedly denied this.

A senior U.S. official told reporters on Monday said there were no direct negotiations with the militant organisation that held Woodke, and no ransom or so-called quid pro quo was part of his release.

(Reporting by John Irish, Editing by William Maclean)


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