In what seems to be a delightful and much awaited news for the family of the kidnapped Swedish national Johan Gustafsson, Al Qaeda released the Sedish national after held him as an hostage for six years.
The 42-year-old Gustafsson was kidnapped from a restaurant in Timbuktu while on a holiday in Mali in 2011, along with South African Stephen McGown and Dutch national Sjaak Rijke. A fourth man, a German national, was shot dead after trying to resist the kidnappers. He was on a bike tour.
The kidnappers has earlier demanded 5 million dollars for his release, a demand rejected by the Swedish government.
However, while Mr Gustafsson is now back with his family, the fate of a fellow hostage from South Africa remains unknown.
It was among several jihadist groups that took control of Mali’s north in 2012 before being ousted by a French-led military operation launched in January 2013.
Prior to his release, Gustafsson’s last known contact with the outside world came during a video statement released in 2015 confirming the three men were alive and well.
Gustafsson’s mother was overjoyed to hear of the news of his release, describing her reaction as “grateful and happy.”