Thanks to the publication of Jörg Lange thanks to the German NGO Morocco Services

Bianca Kaltschmitt - Jörge Lange

Bianca Kaltschmitt – Jörge Lange

German humanitarian Georg Lange, 63, has been freed after being held hostage in the Sahel for four and a half years, his NGO Help announced on Saturday. “We are so relieved and grateful that our colleague Georg Lange of more than four and a half years has returned to his family,” HELP executive director Bianca Kaltschmidt wrote in a statement.

The NGO “heartily thanks all those who contributed or supported this publication, especially the Crisis Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Criminal Police, as well as officials and friends in Mali, Niger and neighboring countries.”.

As we reported yesterday, according to the German weekly Der Spiegel, the release could take place thanks to Moroccan secret services and their connections with jihadist groups in the Sahel.

Lange reportedly returned to Germany on a military plane, Der Spiegel adds. The German government declined to comment when asked by AFP.

Jörg Lange was abducted on motorcycles by armed men near Ayoro in western Niger on April 11, 2018, a victim of a series of jihadist attacks along the border with Mali. His Nigerian driver was released shortly after. According to the German press, Georg Lange was kidnapped and then sold to the jihadist group “Islamic State in the Greater Sahara” (EIGS).

At least four Western hostages are still being held in the Sahel, according to a count that includes only cases made public by their entourages or their governments: Frenchman Olivier Dubois, kidnapped on May 5, 2021, American Jeffrey Woodke (October 14, 2016), Australian Arthur Kenneth Elliott (January 15, 2016). and Romanian Iulian Gerkat (April 4, 2015). Another German, Father Hans-Joachim Lohre, has not been heard from since late November and is widely believed to have been kidnapped, although no claims have been made.

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