French journalist Olivier Dubois freed after 711 days in captivity in Mali

The French President welcomes back journalist Olivier Dubois who was held captive by an Al-Qaeda affiliated group in Mali for more than 700 days. Photo credit: Emmanuel Macron (via Instagram)

THE President of France embraced Olivier Dubois in an emotional scene on Tuesday, March 22 as the journalist arrived back from Mali where he was held hostage. Dubois arrived back at Villacoublay military base after being held for 711 days by an Al-Qaeda affiliated group in Mali.

Dubois arrived on a French official Falcon plane from Niamey, the capital of Niger, and was greeted by his wife and two children. On arrival, Dubois spoke with Macron for several hours, sharing his harrowing tale of survival.

Dubois was kidnapped on April 8, 2021, in the northern Malian town of Gao while attempting to interview a high-ranking jihadist leader. He was held captive by the same group that kidnapped Colombian nun Gloria Cecilia Narvaez, who was held more than four years, and American Missionary, Jeffery Woodke, who was released with Dubois.

During captivity, Dubois was subjected to physical and psychological abuse, including being blindfolded and chained to a wall for days on end. He was also forced to convert to Islam and was regularly beaten and tortured by his captors.

Macron thanked Niger’s government for their help in securing his release and reaffirmed France’s commitment to fighting terrorism in the Sahel region.