Al-Qaeda releases Swedish hostage after almost six years
Johan Gustafsson was kidnapped in November 2011 during a motorcycle trip in Mali, along with two people from South Africa and the Netherlands.
STOCKHOLM - A Swedish citizen held hostage by al-Qaeda militants for nearly six years has been released, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Johan Gustafsson, 42, was kidnapped in November 2011 in Timbuktu, during a motorcycle trip in Mali, along with two people from South Africa and the Netherlands.
The kidnappers has earlier demanded $5 million for his release, a demand rejected by the Swedish government, according to Swedish Radio, without citing a source.
The Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the question of a ransom.
"It is with great joy I can say that Johan Gustafsson has been released and will be able to return to Sweden," Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement.
Wallstrom said "considerable efforts" were made by the Foreign Ministry, together with the police and other Swedish and foreign authorities, in order to secure Gustafsson's release.