Al Qaeda releases Swedish hostage after almost six years

The kidnappers had earlier demanded 5 million dollars for his release, a demand rejected by the Swedish government, according to Swedish Radio.

world Updated: Jun 26, 2017 21:35 IST
Reuters
Reuters
Reuters, Stockholm
Al Qaeda,Johan Gustafsson,South Africa
(FILES) This image grab released by Al-Jazeera television on August 21, 2012, shows part of a video broadcast by the pan-Arab channel, in which three Western hostages taken captive in northern Mali by the Qaeda-linked Al-Din movement, appear in an undiscloed location in Mali: South African-Briton Stephen Malcom (C), Swede Johan Gustafsson (L) and Dutch national Sjaak Rijke (R) are shown wearing traditional robes. (AFP)

A Swedish citizen held hostage by al Qaeda militants for nearly six years has been released, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Johan Gustafsson, 42, was kidnapped in November 2011 in Timbuktu, during a motor cycle trip in Mali, along with two people from South Africa and the Netherlands.

The kidnappers had earlier demanded 5 million dollars for his release, a demand rejected by the Swedish government, according to Swedish Radio, without citing a source.

The Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the question of a ransom.

“It is with great joy I can say that Johan Gustafsson has been released and will be able to return to Sweden,” foreign minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement.

Wallstrom said “considerable efforts” were made by the foreign ministry, together with the police and other Swedish and foreign authorities, in order to secure Gustafsson’s release.

First Published: Jun 26, 2017 21:35 IST