Kidnapped since April 8, 2021 in Gao, Mali by the Group of Support for Islam and Muslims (Jnim), the French journalist Olivier Dubois has been released. He landed in Niamey on March 20, 2023.
Olivier Dubois, a journalist working for Libération, Le Point and Jeune Afrique in Mali, is now free. He spent 711 (seven hundred and eleven) days as a hostage in the Sahel.. He was kidnapped in Gao on April 8, 2021, where he had gone to interview a jihadist leader. His captivity lasted almost two years.
This Monday, March 20, 2023, his ordeal came to an end. He arrived free on Monday 20 March at Niamey airport. “I feel tired but I’m fine,” he said as he got off the plane, smiling and visibly moved, wearing an open white shirt over a T-shirt and beige pants, according to French media like France24. “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 allowed me to be here today,” he added in front of several journalists.
On May 3, 2021, Olivier Dubois had himself announced his kidnapping, in a video of a few seconds filmed under a tent, somewhere in the desert. Sitting cross-legged in front of the camera, he said he had been kidnapped by the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (Jnim, according to its Arabic acronym), the Sahel branch of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Aqmi. But since then, his family and friends have only had a few rare signs of life.
Along with Olivier, American humanitarian Jeffery Woodke, kidnapped in October 2016 in Niger, was also released. The latter, thanks to his NGO, was helping nomadic populations in the Abalak region of Niger. After his abduction by a jihadist group, he was reportedly taken and held in Mali, according to Nigerien security sources.
According to the French newspaper Libération, Olivier Dubois is expected to arrive on French soil on Monday night, at the Villacoublay military airport, near Paris. There will be officials to give speeches.