French reporter abducted by Jihadi rebels in northern Mali

French Foreign Minister confirms abduction of journalist in Mali

BAMAKO, Mali – Jihadi rebels abducted French journalist Olivier Dubois on April 8 while working in the northern city of Gao, the head of Reporters Without Borders announced.

A video released on Wednesday shows Dubois saying he was abducted by the JNIM group linked to al-Qaida. In the video, he appeals to his family, friends and authorities to work for his release. The video could not be independently verified.

Christophe Deloire, head of Reporters Without Borders, confirmed the kidnapping to The Associated Press and demanded that the reporter be released.

“We ask the Malian and French authorities to do everything possible to obtain his release and send all our support to his family and loved ones,” he posted on Twitter.

Dubois reported in Gao in northern Mali and did not return to his hotel after lunch on April 8, Deloire said. Dubois usually works for LePoint Afrique.

The French Foreign Ministry confirmed his disappearance, saying they were in contact with his family and the Malaysian authorities.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said authorities were currently reviewing the video and were refusing to give more details.

“We are working closely with the Malaysian authorities,” he said. “We reiterate our demand not to go to the area (in Mali) which is particularly risky.”

Arnaud Froger, head of the Africa Bureau of Reporters Without Borders, told the AP “this video seems to indicate and confirm our worst fears.”

“We will see during the day whether the various authorities acknowledge this information regarding his abduction, but everything naturally points in the direction that he is currently in the hands of an armed group in the northeast of Mali.”

Reporters Without Borders “calls on the authorities to do everything in their power, to make every effort to ensure his release and to ensure that he can be released without any further delay,” he said. Froger said.

Mali has been in turmoil since an uprising in 2012, which led to mutinous soldiers overthrowing the president. The power vacuum that led to it eventually led to an Islamic uprising and a French-led campaign that drove the jihadists out of the cities in northern Mali in 2013.

But insurgents remain active and extremist groups linked to al-Qaida and the ISIS terrorist group have moved from the arid north to more populous central Mali since 2015, attacking targets and inciting hostility and violence between ethnic groups in the region.

By Baba Ahmed