Swedish hostage captured by terrorists in Mali released after six years

(CNN)Swedish national Johan Gustafsson, who had been held hostage by a branch of Al Qaeda in Mali for six years, finally returned to Sweden Monday after being released by his captors, according to the Swedish government.

“Johan’s situation has affected many of us, and extensive efforts have been made to secure his release,” Wallstrom said in the statement.
42-year-old Gustafsson was kidnapped from a restaurant in Timbuktu while on a holiday in Mali in 2011, along with South African Stephen McGown and Dutch national Sjaak Rijke. A fourth man, a German national, was shot dead after trying to resist the kidnappers, according to CNN-affiliate Aftonbladet.
    The Swedish newspaper said Gustafsson’s mother was overjoyed to hear of the news of his release, describing her reaction as “grateful and happy.”
    Prior to his release, Gustafsson’s last known contact with the outside world came during a video statement released in 2015 confirming the three men were alive and well.
    “I miss my family very much,” Gustafsson said in his video statement at the time.
    Rijke was released in April. The current situation of other hostage, McGown, is not known.
    In her statement, Wallstrom thanked the efforts of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Police Authority National Operations Department, among other authorities both in Sweden and overseas.
    “This collaboration has now resulted in Johan being able to return home,” he said.

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