The French journalist Olivier Dubois arrived free Monday at Niamey airport, nearly two years after being kidnapped in Mali by the jihadist alliance of the Group of Support for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), an AFP reporter noted.
"I feel tired but I'm fine," he said as he got off the plane, smiling and visibly moved, dressed in an open white shirt over a T-shirt and beige pants.
"It's huge for me to be here, to be free, I wanted to pay tribute to Niger for its expertise in this delicate mission and pay tribute to France and all those who have allowed me to be here today," he added in front of several journalists.
The American humanitarian Jeffery Woodke, kidnapped in October 2016 in Niger was also released.
Leaning on a cane, his hair white, he appeared alongside Olivier Dubois.
"The hostages were recovered safely by the Nigerien authorities before being handed over to the French and American authorities," said Nigerien Interior Minister Hamadou Souley at the airport on Monday.
Olivier Dubois, a 48-year-old freelance journalist, was kidnapped on April 8, 2021, in Gao, northern Mali, by the GSIM, the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, linked to al-Qaeda.
He worked for Libération, Le Point, and Jeune Afrique, and had been living and working in Mali since 2015 when he was kidnapped.
He had himself announced his kidnapping in a video posted on social networks on May 5, 2021.