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How hostage negotiator ‘bargained’ for McGowan’s safe release

Mohamed Yehia says when proof of life was provided two years ago, a hard-bargaining process began for McGowan’s safe release.

FILE: Stephen McGowan who was being held hostage in Mali was released on 2 August 2017. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - A hostage negotiator says it was difficult to find the right people to assist in ensuring Stephen McGowan’s release from captivity.

Al-Qaeda kidnapped the 42-year-old South African citizen in Timbuktu in Mali five and a half years ago.

He recently arrived back home.

McGowan was held in captivity with a Swedish and a Dutch national.

A German national who resisted the captors was shot dead on the spot.

The Gift of The Givers’ hostage negotiator Mohamed Yehia says when proof of life was provided two years ago, a hard-bargaining process began for McGowan’s safe release.

“They have a political and religious agenda... and when they kept Stephen they didn’t know he was from South Africa because he had a British passport with him. For them Britain, France and the US are all colonised, doing something wrong and hence they fight with them.”

WATCH: Family briefs media on Stephen McGowan's release

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)