Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Swedish government announces release of hostage in Mali

Swedish government announces release of hostage in Mali

A Swede held hostage by al-Qaida in Mali since 2011 was released, the Swedish Foreign Ministry announced Monday.

In her statement, she said that Johan Gustafsson would be returning to Sweden and urged people to give him privacy after six years in captivity.

In April 2015, French special forces freed Rijke but the fate of McGowan is not clear.

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"The government would like to highlight the excellent cooperation that has marked the work of the Foreign Ministry, the National Police's operational department and other Swedish and foreign authorities - work that finally made it possible for Johan to come home", Wallstrom said in the statement.

Johan Gustafsson, 42, was kidnapped in November 2011 in Timbuktu, during a motorcycle trip in Mali, along with two people from South Africa and the Netherlands.

"I've already spoken with Johan and he is doing well and is overwhelmed by everything going on", Wallstrom told Swedish Radio. "I don't think Stephen has been released", said Imtiaz Sooliman, head of Gift of the Givers. While they were forced out of strongholds a year later by a French-led military intervention, jihadists continue to attack Malian and French soldiers and United Nations peacekeepers.

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The charity said in May 2017 that it was giving up its negotiating efforts after hitting a "dead end".

Goran Gustafsson, Johan Gustafsson's father, would not confirm or comment the information to Swedish news agency TT. No group has claimed responsibility for her disappearance.

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