South Africa: Third Video of SA Hostage Gerco Van Deventer Released By Malian Captors


Gerco van Deventer has been held by al-Qaeda in northern Africa for more than five years. In the most recent video, the South African paramedic called for help to 'gain what was taken from me: freedom and liberty'.

A third proof-of-life video of Gerco van Deventer, held captive for more than 2,000 days in northern Mali, was released on Friday, 26 May to the philanthropic organisation Gift of the Givers. On 9 April, the group sent representative Mohamed Yehia Dicko to negotiate with the extremist group, Jnim - a coalition of al-Qaeda-aligned groups - for the Western Cape resident's release.

The 50-second video is the first direct update from Van Deventer since March, and before Dicko entered negotiations.

"I am requesting urgent help and assistance to facilitate and activate any action that can lead to my release," Van Deventer said in the video.

"I do not know of my family's whereabouts or their wellbeing. I am requesting any assistance to facilitate, help me, build a bridge to reach the outside world and to gain what was taken from me: freedom and liberty."

In a statement, Gift of the Givers said: "Yehia is currently in Mali in discussion with intermediaries and important role players to influence the captors to release Gerco unconditionally.

"This is an extremely important week for the process as we pray and hope for the best. On 3 June, Gerco will have been in...

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