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South African man released by extremists in Mali, government says

South Africa’s government says a South African man has been freed from captivity after being held hostage for six years by extremists in Mali.

A statement Thursday says Stephen McGown was released on Saturday. He was kidnapped in 2011 in Timbuktu by al-Qaida’s North Africa branch. He had been traveling as a tourist and also has British citizenship.

South Africa’s minister for international relations confirms that McGown is now home.

The minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, says South Africa’s government does not pay ransom in hostage situations.

In late June, Swedish national Johan Gustafsson was released by extremists in Mali after being kidnapped in November 2011.


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