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JNIM Releases French Journalist After 711 Days in Captivity

After his release was made possible by the Niger Republic's negotiators, Olivier Dubois landed in Niamey.

The jihadi organization Jama’atu Nusratul Islam Wal Muslimin (JNIM), which has ties to Al-Qaeda, released  French journalist Olivier Dubois on Monday, March 20, 2023. 

Dubois was kidnapped in Mali’s Gao area on April 8, 2021. He was held captive for 711 days before being freed. 

He landed at Niamey airport in the Niger Republic after Nigerien negotiators helped secure his release. 

In a video, Dubois was seen smiling at the Niger Capital and stating that he was in excellent health and didn’t anticipate being set free. 

“It’s incredible to be here and free,” he said. 

Dubois, a freelance journalist who spent many years in Mali, was kidnapped while on his way to meet with JNIM lieutenant Abdallah Ag Albakaye. 

After attending an interview, he was not seen again until a 21-second video, which was released on May 5 and in which he verified that JNIM had kidnapped him. 

Several days later, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Mali’s foreign minister, confirmed that the journalist was a “hostage of a jihadist group.”

In the video released in May 2021, Dubois pleaded with family members and law enforcement to do everything in their power to secure his release.

His family and journalists called for the government to secure his release in demonstrations over his captivity, which were primarily heard in France. 

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) voiced concern for the hostage on May 20, 2021, and urged his abductors to free him as soon as possible.

JNIM has been accused of inciting unrest, carrying out assaults, raping women, and kidnapping people in some areas of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso,

In 2018, after the group’s creation in 2017, the US classified it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

The organization was created through the amalgamation of three distinct and autonomous Salafi-jihadi organizations in West Africa, all of which shared the same ambition to impose an extremist version of Sharia law by driving out those they considered to be occupiers. 

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Aliyu Dahiru

Aliyu is an Assistant Editor at HumAngle and Head of the Radicalism and Extremism Desk. He has years of experience researching misinformation and influence operations. He is passionate about analysing jihadism in Africa and has published several articles on the topic. His work has been featured in various local and international publications.

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