German hostage released more than 4 years after kidnapping

The 63-year-old humanitarian was abducted on April 11, 2018 in western Niger, in a region bordering Mali and plagued by recurring jihadist attacks.

German humanitarian aid worker Jörg Lange, 63, has been released after being held hostage in the Sahel for four and a half years, his NGO Help announced on Saturday. “We are very relieved and grateful that our colleague Jörg Lange can return to his family after more than four and a half years.That writes the CEO of Help, Bianca Kaltschmitt, in a statement.

LONG “many thanks to all the people who contributed to or supported this release, in particular the crisis unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the criminal investigation department, as well as the authorities and friends in Mali, Niger and in neighboring countries».

This is reported by the German weekly The mirror, it is thanks to the Moroccan secret services and their contacts with jihadist groups in the Sahel that this release could take place. Jörg Lange is said to have been repatriated to Germany on board an army plane, he adds The mirror. At the request of AFP, the German government declined to comment.

Four Western hostages are still being held in the Sahel

Jörg Lange was abducted on 11 April 2018 in western Niger by gunmen on motorcycles near Ayorou, in a border region of Mali plagued by recurring jihadist attacks. His Nigerian driver was released shortly afterwards.

According to the German press, Jörg Lange was sold to the jihadist group after his kidnapping “Islamic State in the Great Sahara» (EIGS).

At least four Western hostages are still held in the Sahel, according to a count that only covers the cases made public by their entourage or their government: Frenchman Olivier Dubois, kidnapped on May 5, 2021, American Jeffery Woodke ( October 14, 2016), Australian Arthur Kenneth Elliott (January 15, 2016) and Romanian Iulian Ghergut (April 4, 2015).

Another German, Father Hans-Joachim Lohre, who has not been heard from since the end of November, is widely believed to have been kidnapped, although no report was made.

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