French journalist Olivier Dubois at the airport in Niamey, Niger, on March 20, 2023. (SOULEYMANE AG ANARA / AFP)
Olivier Dubois was kidnapped on April 8 in Gao, in northern Mali, by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, linked to Al-Qaeda. Another hostage, American Jeffrey Woodke, was also released.
Olivier Dubois is free. The only French hostage in the world (not held by a State) since the release in October 2020 of Sophie Pétronin, also kidnapped in Mali, the journalist has been released and is safe in Niamey, the capital of Niger, learned France Télévisions Monday March 20. “It’s huge for me to be free, I didn’t expect it at all. I would like to pay tribute to Niger and its know-how [in terms of] delicate missions, to France and to all those who ‘made it possible to be here today,” he said. “I need to come to my senses. I feel tired, but I’m fine.” Emmanuel Macron expressed, on Twitter, his “great gratitude to Niger for this release”.
Olivier #Dubois libéré après près de 2 ans (711 jours) de captivité. Immense emotion a l’aéroport de Niamey pic.twitter.com/vOwYD5Z8ps
— Stanislas Poyet (@stanislas_poyet) March 20, 2023
Collaborator in particular of Liberation, Le Point and Jeune Afrique, he had himself confirmed his abduction in a video broadcast on social networks on May 5, 2021. He explained there that he had been kidnapped on April 8, 2021 in Gao, in the north of Mali , by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, linked to Al-Qaeda. French hostage Olivier Dubois at Niamey airport, Niger, on March 20, 2023. (CAMILLE LAFFONT / AFP)
In December 2020, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna assured that the executive was doing “everything possible to allow [his] release”. Reporters Without Borders shared its “tremendous relief” after this release, which came after 711 days in captivity.
“We had had reassuring news on several occasions in recent months, and again very recently: he seemed in good shape, but the length of his captivity worried us”, commented the secretary general of RSF, Christophe Deloire, questioned by the AFP. Another hostage, American Jeffrey Woodke, was also released.