A French journalist, in a video released on social media on Wednesday, said he was kidnapped in Mali in early April by a jihadist group with links to Al Qaeda.
The brief video could not be independently verified, although an official from the French Foreign Ministry confirmed that Olivier Dubois, who worked for several media, including the international television channel UKTN and the daily Liberation , was reported missing.
In the video, which lasts about 20 seconds, Dubois said he was kidnapped on April 8 in the central Gao region by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the Sahel’s largest jihadist alliance.
He is seen sitting on the ground, on a green sheet that could be a tent, wearing a traditional light pink robe, with his beard trimmed.
The foreign ministry official said: “We are in contact with his family and the Malian authorities. We are carrying out the usual technical checks” in the video.
Liberation, for which Dubois wrote regularly since April last year, declined to comment immediately.
Mali is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that first erupted in the north of the country in 2012 before spreading to the center and neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands fled their homes, while the economic impact on one of the world’s poorest countries has been devastating.
Kidnappings were frequent, both of Malians and foreigners.
The last French hostage was Sophie Petronin, a 75-year-old aid worker, who was freed in October last year along with Malian politician Soumaila Cissé, who has since died, and Italians Nicola Chiacchio and Pier Luigi Maccalli.
There was constant speculation that a ransom was paid for the four hostages, which was never confirmed by the Malian government, as well as the release of 200 prisoners, some of whom were jihadists.
In October, Switzerland was informed that GSIM had killed an evangelical missionary who had been kidnapped in Timbuktu in January 2016.
In March, the Swiss Foreign Ministry said the woman’s body had been found and formally identified.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by UK Time News staff and is posted Platforms.)