French journalist Olivier Dubois speaks to journalists as he arrives at the Diori Hamani International Airport in Niamey, Niger, on March 20, 2023, nearly two years after he was kidnapped in Mali. (AFP/Souleymane Ag Anara)

CPJ welcomes release of French journalist Olivier Dubois after nearly 2 years of captivity in Mali

Nairobi, March 20, 2023—In response to news reports that French journalist Olivier Dubois has been freed nearly two years after he was abducted by a militant group in Mali, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“We are elated that journalist Olivier Dubois is finally free and able to return home to his family and his colleagues,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal, in New York. “Mali’s conflict and constitutional crisis have acutely increased risks for journalists. While Dubois’ release is a relief, journalist safety continues to be concerning. We urge all parties, including jihadists, to refrain from criminal actions to silence the press.”

Dubois, a freelancer, went missing on April 8, 2021, in the Malian region of Gao while seeking an interview with the local leader of the Al-Qaeda affiliated group Jamaa Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin. His abduction was made public in a video posted online that May.

On Monday, March 20, Dubois was released and arrived at an airport in Niamey, in the neighboring country of Niger, according to those news reports.

“It’s amazing for me to be here, to be free,” Dubois said while thanking Nigerien authorities for their role in his release, according to those reports.