Europe 1 with AFP 16:02 p.m., March 20, 2023

French journalist Olivier Dubois, held captive for 711 days in Mali, was finally released on Monday. The latter had been held hostage since the war in Lebanon. Questioned by AFP, the organization Reporters Without Borders confided its "immense relief".

French journalist Olivier Dubois arrived free on Monday at Niamey airport in Niger, nearly two years after being kidnapped in Mali by the jihadist alliance Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM), an AFP journalist found. "I feel tired but I'm fine," he said as he stepped off the plane, smiling and visibly moved, wearing an open white shirt over a t-shirt and beige pants. The journalist spent a total of 711 days in captivity.

Olivier Dubois thanks Niger, thanks the France. "I've only been thinking about my family for two years," he says, before also thanking @RFI who allowed him to keep in touch with his family during these two years

— Stanislas Poyet (@stanislas_poyet) March 20, 2023

Released alongside American humanitarian Jeffery Woodke

"It's huge for me to be here, to be free, I wanted to pay tribute to Niger for its know-how in this delicate mission and pay tribute to the France and all those who allowed me to be here today," added Olivier Dubois in front of several journalists. The French journalist is not the only one to have rediscovered the taste of freedom since the American humanitarian Jeffery Woodke, kidnapped in October 2016 in Niger, has also been released. He appeared alongside the Frenchman leaning on a cane and white hair.

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"The hostages were recovered safe and sound by the Nigerien authorities before being handed over to the French and American authorities," Nigerien Interior Minister Hamadou Souley said Monday at the airport. For its part, Reporters Without Borders said it was "immensely relieved" at the end of this captivity, considered "the longest for a French journalist held hostage since the war in Lebanon".

The 48-year-old freelance journalist was kidnapped on 8 April 2021 in Gao, northern Mali, by the GSIM, the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, linked to Al-Qaeda. The latter collaborated with Libération, Le Point and Jeune Afrique, living and working in Mali since 2015 when he was kidnapped. The Frenchman himself had announced his abduction in a video posted on social networks on May 5, 2021.