Mali: six months later, what hope of liberation for Olivier Dubois? – Young Africa

While the tone is rising between Paris and Bamako, some are worried about possible repercussions on the negotiations for the release of the French journalist, hostage of the jihadists.

It is on the ground that he liked to give to see and to hear. This is also where he felt best. As with each of his trips, just before going to Gao where he was kidnapped on April 8, Olivier Dubois left a security protocol at Deborah Al Hawi Al Masri, His wife. He asked her to alert the authorities if she did not hear from him by April 10 at 5 p.m. at the latest. He was careful, but never imagined seeing his name one day on the list of French people taken hostage abroad.

It has now been six months since this hyperactive journalist, a collaborator in particular of Young Africa, is hostage, leaving his partner and his two children in a state of anguish… but also of hope. The hope that one day he will come back and get on with his life.

“I am not informed of anything”

Upon the announcement of his kidnapping, a support committee called #FreeOlivierDubois was quickly formed, and has since multiplied actions in Paris and Bamako. Above all, do not forget Olivier Dubois, even though many questions remain. Where is he ? How is he doing? How are the French and Malian states working to ensure that he is released as quickly as possible? The questions fuse in the heads of his relatives, without answer. They say they know nothing about possible negotiations. “I am not informed of anything, confides his companion. I do not know if discussions have been started because Mali and France work in total discretion. “

As the days go by, this mother experiences a certain frustration and a feeling of helplessness. But she takes care not to leave their children in ignorance: “Olivier is omnipresent in our thoughts and his situation is not a taboo. We talk about it regularly. I prefer to answer them rather than cause them anxiety ”. Their father’s last message is from May 5th, it’s a short 20-second video. Dressed in a traditional tunic with a three-day beard, the hostage confirmed his abduction in Gao, by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the Sahelian nebula of Al Qaeda led by Malian Iyad Ag Ghaly .

On September 29, journalist Wassim Nasr, a specialist in jihadist networks, claimed to have been in contact with a “clean” source from GSIM. Contrary to the scenario advanced so far, this one affirms that Olivier Dubois was not drawn into a trap or “deceived” and that his case “can be opened to the discussion”.


If this is the case, France – which officially has the doctrine of not negotiating with terrorists – would she agree to open negotiations? Will the recent tension in relations between Paris and Bamako hamper the progress of the case of the only French hostage in the world? “I have no fears by report to Olivier’s situation because the two États Mountain affirmed he is a priority, want to believe Deborah Al Hawi Al Masri. The problems geopolitics will not be a drag. ”

Since the end of September, the tone has gone up a notch between the two countries. Paris hardly appreciates that Bamako has started discussions with Russian security companies in the Wagner Nebula. And Emmanuel Macron reacted strongly to the words of the Malian Prime Minister, Choguel Maïga, who described as “abandonment” the gradual withdrawal of Barkhane’s troops in northern Mali.

Independent journalist and specialist in security issues, Walid Ag Menani believes, however, that this change in military arrangements will not have any real impact on the Dubois case. According to him, that does not necessarily mean that the safety and the release of the journalist will be compromised. “Sophie Pétronin [enlevée à Gao en 2016 et libérée en octobre 2020] was arrested in a town where French soldiers were present and she was released a few kilometers from a French army base, ”he recalls. In other words, the presence of French troops in the area did not prevent this kidnapping.

“It is very complicated to draw conclusions, nuance Marc de Boni, member of the support committee for Olivier Dubois. It is certain that this tension is a factor of anguish for all. Corn When Sophie Petronin was released, relations between France and Mali were not in good shape either. Six months after the kidnapping of Olivier Dubois, hope is still great.

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