Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has announced the formation of a coordination front to rally the release of journalist Olivier Dubois, who was kidnapped in Gao, Mali, on April 8, 2021, while on duty.
According to the organisation, the formation comprises the journalist’s relatives and friends, the French media organisation he was working with as a freelancer, other media organisations, and former hostage journalists.
The rally will be held on June 8, 2021, in Paris, to call for the release of the journalist who was abducted by the Al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists in Mali after spending sixty days in captivity.
Dubois’ abduction was confirmed after he appeared in a short video indicating he was “kidnapped by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims.”
Olivier Dubois, a freelance reporter who spent many years in Mali, had an appointment with Abdallah Ag Albakaye, a lieutenant of the support group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), a coalition of armed Islamist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda.
He was not seen again after going to this meeting until the release of the 21-second video a month later, on May 5, when he confirmed his abduction by GSIM.
A few days later, Mali’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, verified that the journalist was a “hostage of a jihadist group.”
Representatives of the editorial staffs for which Olivier Dubois usually works; Liberation, Le Point, and Jeune Afrique, representatives of the support committee established by his relatives in Bamako, the reporters Florence Aubenas and Didier François, former hostages respectively in Iraq and Syria, the SOS hostages association, as well as several journalists, media, and other people, are among those rallying support.
“The main missions of this body are to coordinate the strategic thinking and the steps taken by civil society in favour of the release of the French journalist and to carry out, as far as necessary, awareness-raising, communication and advocacy actions to achieve this goal,” said RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire.
The Sahel remains one of the world’s most dangerous locations for journalists, more than seven years after the killings of RFI journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon in Mali.
On April 26, two Spanish journalists, David Beriain and Roberto Fraile, were killed in Burkina Faso during an attack carried out by an armed group.
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