Al-Qaeda made a gesture, it freed the citizen of Sweden who was kidnapped in 2011. Johan Gustafsson was on a motorcycle trip from Sweden to South Africa when he was kidnapped.
Al-Qaeda’s North African affiliate Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, including the case of 201 when the Sweden citizen was taken as a hostage.
Gift of the Givers, a South African charity, appointed by the families to negotiate the release of Gustafsson and McGowan said it had no news about McGowan.
“We have no information… I don’t think Stephen has been released,”
said Imtiaz Sooliman, head of GoG. Over the years, AQIM had released several videos of Gustafsson and McGowan, but there were no clear demands from the kidnappers.
Sweden Foreign Ministry about the success in negotiation
A Foreign Minister in Sweden announced in a statement that Johan Gustafsson is free now:
“It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Johan Gustafsson has been released and can return to Sweden,”
said Margot Wallstrom on Monday.
Gustafsson had landed at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport where he had been welcomed home by his family. The bitter story of Johan started in Timbuktu, northern Mali, in November 2011, was abducted along with South African national Stephen McGowan and Dutchman Sjaak Rijke. Rijke was freed in April 2015 by French special forces. The destiny of McGowan is still unclear, unfortunately.