French journalist kidnapped in northern Mali calls for help in new video

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A French journalist who disappeared in Mali’s northern city of Gao last month has appeared in a video calling for help.

In the 21-second video shared on social media, Olivier Dubois was seen appealing to authorities to do everything they can to free him from Islamist militants holding him.

“I’m Olivier Dubois. I’m French. I’m a journalist. I was kidnapped in Gao on April 8 by the JNIM (al Qaeda North Africa).

“I’m speaking to my family, my friends and the French authorities for them to do everything in their power to free me,” Dubois said in the video.

The French foreign ministry also confirmed Dubois’ disappearance in a statement.

The ministry said it was in contact with his family and carrying out technical checks on the authenticity of the video.

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.

Dubois is the first French national to be taken hostage by jihadist militants in Mali since French aid worker Sophie Petronin was freed in October last year. She had been abducted near Gao in late 2016.

Scores of Islamist insurgents were released in a prisoner swap deal that liberated Petronin, a senior Malian politician and two Italians.




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