French journalist Olivier Dubois made an emotional return home on Tuesday, March 21, following nearly two years in captivity in the Sahel, with President Emmanuel Macron greeting him at an airport near Paris.


Olivier Dubois arrived home on Tuesday to be warmly embraced by family members and President Emmanuel Macron, bringing an end to almost two years of captivity in Mali.

Dubois, who disappeared in Mali’s northern city of Gao in April 2021, was released on Monday, and taken to Niger with U.S. aid worker Jeffery Woodke, who was also freed after being held six years.

Dubois, who had appeared in a video last August urging authorities to do everything they could to free him from Islamist militants holding him, arrived on Tuesday in a French presidency jet on the outskirts of the French capital.

He arrived in the Niger capital, Niamey, on Monday after being freed together with the 61-year-old humanitarian aid worker, Jeffery Woodke, who was kidnapped in south-west Niger in October 2016.

“It’s huge for me to be here today,” Dubois said in Niamey on Monday, smiling as he answered questions from reporters. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I feel tired but I’m well.”

Without making any further comment on the government’s role in their release, he said the two men had been picked up by the Nigerien authorities before being handed over to the French and American authorities. The conditions of their release have not been disclosed.

“After several months of effort, the Nigerian authorities obtained the liberation of two hostages held by Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin,” said Nigerien Interior Minister, Hamadou Adamou Souley, at the airport.




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Piers Potter


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