Kidnapping of Olivier Dubois in Mali: A year later, the journalist’s family wants to restart the mobilization

He is the last known French hostage in the world. Olivier Dubois, 47, is still under the care of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) in Mali. The journalist, correspondent for Liberation and Le Point, was kidnapped on his way to an interview with the leader of this al-Qaeda-linked jihadist alliance in the Sahel. It was April 8, 2021 in Gao in the north of the country.

A video not to forget Olivier Dubois

“We have been in full stress for a year, but we keep the energy to help Olivier by making noise and talking about him,” his sister Canèle Bernard told AFP ahead of the anniversary this April 8. On Thursday evening, his family uploaded a video to warn of the situation and restart mobilization. The faces of French personalities follow one another in support, such as that of journalists Élise Lucet, Gilles Bouleau or even Florence Aubenas, herself a hostage in Iraq in 2005. The clip ends with a call for people to sign a petition that started on January 6 and remains as relevant as ever.

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A petition to the governments

This letter, which has more than 85,000 signatures to date, calls on French and Malian leaders to make the release of Olivier Dubois “a priority”. She regrets the “deafening silence of the authorities” and the lack of information about the progress of the negotiations.

This silence is so great that many French people still do not know that one of their compatriots was kidnapped and is still in prison. In fact, our fears and questions are commonplace, our lives are on hold, just like Olivier’s.

A letter signed by media companies

To support this approach, around forty journalists’ associations published an open letter to the future President of the Republic on April 8th. Christophe Deloire, director of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), also a signatory, explains: “A year is extremely long. In order to secure the release of a hostage, a number of conditions must be met, and the balance of power can be intense. But France has often set a good example in this area. This Friday, Emmanuel Macron assured the “full mobilization” of the state to put an end to this “intolerable imprisonment”.

The latest news is from March

The last message from Olivier Dubois is from March 13th. “This is the second video we have of him. It is very important because it provides evidence of recent life and shows the intention of the kidnappers to discuss it,” continues Christophe Deloire.

Link textThe city of Clermont-Ferrand mobilizes for the release of journalist Olivier Dubois imprisoned in Mali (February 2022)

The Frenchman, who is visibly healthy, thanked his family for their “radio calls” and called on the government to “continue to work for them [sa] release. A few days later, the Malian junta stopped broadcasting RFI and France 24 in the context of tensions with France and withdrew from Olivier Dubois the words of his loved ones, which he described as a “breath of fresh air and hope”.

Lisa Douard

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