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Swedish al Qaeda hostage Johan Gustafsson home after six years

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Al-Qaeda Hostage Johan Gustafsson Freed in Mali After Almost Six Years in Captivity

A Swedish national captured in Mali by al-Qaida was finally freed Monday after being held hostage for more than five years.

While the details of the Swede's release are not immediately clear, Wallström added that his release was thanks to "extensive efforts" by the Swedish foreign ministry, police and "foreign authorities".

In her statement, she said that Johan Gustafsson would be returning to Sweden and urged people to give him privacy after six years in captivity.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which operates in Mali and elsewhere in North Africa, has previously claimed responsibility for the deaths of other captives, including French hostage Phillipe Verdon who was beheaded by the group in 2013.

Wallström later told Swedish radio, according to The Local: "I have already spoken to Johan and he was in good spirits and overwhelmed by everything that's going on".

McGown, 69, was remembered during a church service on June 2 at which mourners recalled her lively demeanor but also the emotional toll that the abduction of her son had over years of uncertainty and reports of ransom demands.

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The Swedish foreign ministry provided no details about McGown's fate.

"I cannot say more at the current time", she added. Johan Gustafsson was on a motorcycle trip from Sweden to South Africa when he was kidnapped.

The released person was identified as Johan Gustafsson.

Rijke was freed in 2015 after an operation by French Special Forces.

He, Rijke and McGown were seized along with several others by a group of armed men while on the terrace of their hotel.

Johan Gustafsson was kidnapped by the terrorist group in Timbuktu, Mali back in November 2011. While they were forced out of strongholds a year later by a French-led military intervention, jihadists continue to attack Malian and French soldiers and United Nations peacekeepers.

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