Macron welcomes home French journalist Olivier Dubois held hostage in the Sahel


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French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed freed journalist Olivier Dubois at midday on Tuesday on his arrival at a military airfield outside Paris, the president’s office said.

Dubois, 48, was kidnapped in Mali on April 8, 2021. He said in a video released by his captors that he was taken by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, which is linked to Al-Qaeda.

He and a US aid worker  61-year-old Jeffery Woodke, who was seized in southwest Niger in October 2016  arrived in the Niger capital, Niamey, on Monday after being freed.

“I feel tired but I’m fine,” Dubois told journalists after his arrival.

After the release, Macron said he had spoken to Dubois and expressed his “huge relief” that the ordeal had ended.

Macron’s office confirmed that Dubois departed from Niamey on Tuesday morning, as did Woodke. 

Dubois had been living in Mali since 2015 and freelancing for the French daily Liberation when he was seized.

Details of the two men’s release remain unclear, although Woodke told journalists Monday that he thanked the “Nigerien, American and French governments”, adding: “Vive la France.”

Niger Interior Minister Hamadou Souley, who was at Niamey airport, said: “The hostages were picked up safe and sound by the Nigerien authorities before being handed over to the French and American authorities.”

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)



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