French journalist Olivier Dubois, who was held hostage by Islamic extremists for nearly two years in Mali, was welcomed home by French President Emmanuel Macron Tuesday, one day after he was released.
Dubois was kidnapped in April 2021 from northern Mali, a region of the country wracked by jihadi violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.
Leaving the plane at the Villacoublay military airport, southwest of Paris, with a big smile on his face, Dubois was applauded by the group of people waiting for his arrival. He was greeted with great joy by his sister and father, and then hugged Macron.
The conditions of Dubois’ release, including whether it involved a ransom, have not been disclosed.
Reporters Without Borders, also known by its French acronym RSF, thanked French authorities on Monday for “having implemented the necessary means to obtain his release,” without elaborating.
Dubois’ release took place on the same day that an American aid worker was freed in Mali.
Jihadi groups have been abducting hostages for ransom as a way to fund their operations and expand their presence. At least 25 foreigners and untold numbers of locals have been kidnapped in the Sahel — the vast, semi-arid expanse below the Sahara Desert — since 2015, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.