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Al Qaeda frees kidnapped South African

Al Qaeda frees kidnapped South African

South Africa

Al Qaeda has released South African born Stephen McGowan, kidnapped in Timbuktu in 2011 without any ransom paid, South African officials say.

After his release a series of medical tests were carried out on him by doctors who concluded he had no major injuries.
McGowan, had been touring Mali on motorbikes with a German, a Swede and a Dutch national.

Swede Johan Gustafsson, who was kidnapped alongside McGowan from a Timbuktu restaurant, was freed in June after the South African government rejected a 5 million dollars ransom.

Their German friend was killed in the initial kidnapping, while Sjaak Rijke of the Netherlands was freed in 2015 in a raid by French special forces.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb began as a spin-off from an Islamist movement that fought Algeria’s government in the 1990s.

The group has been responsible for dozens of kidnappings of Westerners and scores of attacks on security forces across West Africa.
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