Berliner Tageszeitung - Press rights groups call for release of French journalist in Mali

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Press rights groups call for release of French journalist in Mali




Press rights groups call for release of French journalist in Mali
Press rights groups call for release of French journalist in Mali / Foto: © AFP

Press rights groups have called for the release of French journalist Olivier Dubois, who was taken hostage by a jihadist group in Mali almost a year ago.

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A short video circulating on social media since Sunday appears to show Dubois, but has not been authenticated and its origin is unknown, as is the date it was filmed.

The man, who seems to be in good health in the video, addresses his parents and his partner, from whom he says he receives messages.

He also urges the French government to "continue to do its best" to obtain his release.

The group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) appealed for Dubois' release.

"Reporters Without Borders calls on the French and Malian authorities to redouble efforts to obtain his release," RSF said Monday after the apparent video of Dubois surfaced.

"A reassuring proof of life, the video's appearance on social media came just one week after RSF organised the projection of a huge photo of Dubois on to the side of the Pantheon in Paris as part of its campaign to draw attention to his plight," the Paris-based media watchdog said.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists joined the call.

"Those holding Dubois should release him unharmed without delay, and should cease all efforts to harass and kidnap members of the press," Angela Quintal, the CPJ's Africa programme coordinator, said in a statement.

Dubois, 47, began working as a freelance journalist in Mali in 2015.

He announced his abduction himself in a video posted on social networks on May 5, 2021. In it, he said he had been kidnapped in the northern city of Gao by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, which is linked to Al-Qaeda.

Dubois is the last known French hostage in the world after the release in October 2020 of Sophie Petronin, a Franco-Swiss aid worker who was also kidnapped in Mali.

President Emmanuel Macron stated in January that France had not forgotten Dubois.

"Tireless work is being carried out by our diplomatic teams, our military and the relevant services" to obtain his release, he said.

N. Lebedew--BTZ