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French journalist Dubois freed in Mali

French journalist Olivier Dubois, who has been held hostage in Mali for nearly two years, has been freed, newspaper Liberation's director told Reuters on Monday.

Dubois, who disappeared in Mali's northern city of Gao in April 2021, appeared in a video in early May 2022, appealing to authorities to do everything they could to free him from Islamist militants holding him.

"We are deeply relieved and happy about this outcome," Liberation director Dov Alfon said.

Dubois worked for Liberation and Le Point magazine.

France's foreign ministry did not immediately confirm the news of his release.

French civilians have long been favoured targets for kidnapping by criminal and Islamist groups in West Africa's arid Sahel region, partly because of perceptions that the French government is prepared to pay ransoms to secure their release.

France has repeatedly denied paying ransoms for hostages.

Islamist militants have repeatedly declared French citizens in West Africa to be targets since a 2013 military intervention by France drove back al-Qaeda-linked groups that had seized cities and towns in northern Mali a year earlier.

Source: Reuters

Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world's largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day.

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About Lucien Libert, Elizabeth Pineau, John Irish, GV De Clercq and Kevin Liffey

Reporting by Lucien Libert, Elizabeth Pineau and John Irish, writing by GV De Clercq; Editing by Kevin Liffey
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