A journalist who disappeared last month in Mali’s northern city of Gao appeared in a video on Wednesday appealing to authorities to do everything they can to free him from Islamist militants holding him.
“I’m Olivier Dubois. I’m French. I’m a journalist. I was kidnapped in Gao on 8 April by the JNIM (al Qaeda North Africa).
“I’m speaking to my family, my friends and the French authorities for them to do everything in their power to free me,” Dubois said in a 21-second video shared on social media.
French civilians have long been favoured targets for kidnapping by criminal and Islamist groups in West Africa’s arid Sahel region, partly because of perceptions that the French government is prepared to pay ransoms to secure their release.
France has repeatedly denied paying ransoms for hostages.
“We confirm the disappearance in Mali of Mr Olivier Dubois,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement, stopping short of describing it as a kidnapping.
The ministry said it was in contact with his family and carrying out technical checks on the authenticity of the video.
Malian authorities were not immediately available for comment.