AFRICA/NIGER - Release of two Western hostages kidnapped in the Sahel

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - "The two hostages were recovered safe and sound by the Nigerien authorities before being handed over to the French and American authorities", said the Minister of Interior of Niger Hamadou Souley from Niamey airport.
After years of mobilization to obtain his release, the news has spread that Olivier Dubois, kidnapped in Mali in April 2021, has been released in Niger. The French journalist was detained for 711 days by an armed group affiliated to Al-Qaeda in the Sahel.
According to Nigerien security sources, the other hostage Jeffery Woodke was working in an NGO in Abalak, Niger, with nomadic populations, at the time of his abduction on October 14, 2016 at the hands of jihadist groups who took him to Mali.
The phenomenon of kidnappings is a widespread scourge in the Sahel area, the same one that saw the missionary Father Pier Luigi Maccalli the protagonist of a kidnapping that lasted almost two years, from September 17, 2018 to December 8, 2020. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 21/3/2023)