On May 5th, a video showing French Journalist Olivier Dubois, who went missing last month while working in Mali’s northern city of Gao, surfaced online.
In the video, Dubois says he was kidnapped on April 8 by al-Qaida-linked Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM). The journalist calls on his family, friends and French authorities to work for his release.
Dubois works for a number of French news outlets including Le Point Afrique and Libération. According to Libération, he has been based in Mali for six years.
Christophe Deloire, head of Reporters Without Borders confirmed the Dubois’ kidnapping and called for his release on Twitter.
“We ask the Malian and French authorities to do everything possible to obtain his release and send all our support to his family and loved ones,” Deloire said in a Tweet.
France has a long history of paying ransoms to free its abducted citizens in West Africa. Due to this, terrorist groups like JNIM prefer to abduct French citizens. Despite many reports, France denies paying ransoms for hostages.
In October of last year, French aid worker Sophie Pétronin was freed alongside a senior Malian opposition leader and two Italians in a prisoner swap deal. Dozens of militants were released as a part of the deal. Ransom allegedly paid by France was seized by the Algerian military a few months after the deal.
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