South African held 6 years in Mali re­leased by al Qaeda

The Washington Times Daily - - FROM PAGE ONE -

JOHANNESBURG | Al Qaeda’s North Africa branch has re­leased a South African man who was held hostage for six years in Mali and he is now home, South Africa’s gov­ern­ment announced Thurs­day, deny­ing it had paid any ran­som.

Stephen McGown, who was re­leased on July 25, was the long­est-held of a num­ber of for­eign­ers seized by Is­lamic ex­trem­ists in Mali, where sev­eral armed groups roam the West African coun­try’s north. The ex­trem­ists have made a for­tune over the last decade ab­duct­ing for­eign­ers in the vast Sa­hel re­gion and de­mand­ing enor­mous ran­soms for their re­lease.

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