Mauritania: Al Qaeda’s north African bend has expelled footage of a jihadist with an English accent parading dual Western hostages he says are being hold in “new territory” underneath a control.
South African Stephen Malcolm McGowan and Swede Johan Gustafson were abducted in Timbuktu, northern Mali, in Nov 2011 and have been hold given by al Qaeda in a Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The film appears to have been shot in early April,according to McGowan’s family, around a time that a Dutch warrant kidnapped with a span was discovered in a raid by French special forces.
The 19-minute clip, uploaded to YouTube, shows McGowan and Gustafson sitting by a roadside in a forested glade with their wrists bound.
They are led into a shade to plead their conditions by a dark-skinned, balaclava-clad militant, who gives a sense of being a local English-speaker.
McGowan and Gustafson, heavily-bearded and dressed in tunics, seem in good health in a video, entitled “A Trip to Interview Two Prisoners”.
Its recover was announced by Mauritania’s Sahara Medias on Tuesday but a news group pronounced it was incompetent to uncover a footage on a website since of technical difficulties.
The video is not dated, though McGowan is shown wishing his mom a happy birthday “for dual weeks ago” and his mother a happy marriage anniversary “for final week”.
“His mother’s birthday is on Mar 20 and his marriage anniversary is on 31 March. This would put a video around 6 April,” a hostage’s father, Malcolm McGowan, told AFP in Johannesburg.
AQIM was among several jihadist groups that took control of Mali’s north in 2012 before being suspended by a French-led troops operation launched in Jan 2013.