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SA hostage Stephen McGowan released by al-Qaeda

Stephen McGowan was abducted by al-Qaeda militants in 2011 along with Swiss national Johan Gustafson.

A screengrab from the latest video of South African Stephen McGowan who is being held hostage in Mali. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – Gift of the Givers has confirmed that al-Qaeda’s Mali branch has released South African hostage Stephen McGowan.

McGowan was abducted by al-Qaeda militants in 2011 along with Swedish national Johan Gustafson, who was released in July.

Swedish hostage Johan Gustafsson was released in June this year.

Gift of the Givers, which had been negotiating his release for six years now, has confirmed he's been freed.

The organisation’s Imtiaz Soolliman said: “Our government was talking to the people we were talking to in the last two to three weeks.

"On 31 July in the afternoon, we got a message in French from the people that we were dealing with, saying congratulations and we knew that message meant Stephen McGowan is released.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)