Stephen McGown was captured by the Al-Qaeda in Mali 6 years ago when he was on a trip in Timbuktu. He was finally released and is back home in South Africa
Stephen McGown was held hostage for 6 years. He was taken from a restaurant and held by the Al-Qaeda. The Gift of the Givers played a fundamental role in securing the release of Stephen.
Governments do not interact with terrorist organisations so it was left up to The Gift of the Givers to handle the initial negotiations. When it came down to the final few weeks the government stepped in to takeover the negotiations as an NGO couldn’t secure the final process.
The final arrangements involved the Mali Government, the Mali Military, Mali state security and it involved getting passports and the necessary documentation. The Government also arranged a private plane to get Stephen back to South Africa.
Stephen was in good health but has had all the necessary medical checkups. Stephen was said to have been treated really well. The men he was held hostage with confirmed that they ate well and were given first choice of the things bought at the local markets.
“What can I say… it was a big surprise when Stephen walked through the door or the first meeting. But when I gave him a hug he felt astounded and as strong as before, so he was well treated up there.” – Malcom McGown
The International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has confirmed that no ransom was paid in exchange for Stephen. She has also requested that the media give the family space and time to readjust.
You can watch/ listen to an interview of the Gift of the Givers founder Dr. Imtiaz Soolliman below.
— eNCA (@eNCA) August 3, 2017